A report on the assessment of unknown human skeletal remains found at the Erasmus family graveyard, Erasmus kasteel on a portion of the farm Waterkloof 378 JR in Pretoria, Gauteng


Archaetnos cc was requested by ARMSCOR, on behalf of the Erasmus family, after consultation with SAHRA?S BGG Unit, to investigate the discovery of human skeletal remains in a new grave dug for the burial of the deceased relative of one of the Erasmus family members. This grave was dug in the ARMSCOR Heritage Enclave at the well-known Erasmuskasteel in Pretoria, on the premises of the Erasmus family graveyard. The graves located in last mentioned cemetery were relocated here in 1987 from their original location on the same farm.

The investigation aimed at determining whether or not the skeletal remains found were indeed of human origin, and also whether or not the remains (if human) are associated with the relocated remains or from earlier (Iron Age?) origin. Furthermore, as the burial of the deceased Erasmus family member was to take place the following day, the aim was to see if the burial could still take place in the same location or whether a new grave had to be dug for these purposes. Recommendations on how to handle the recovered remains was also to be done.

The remains were indeed of human origin, dating to the later Iron Age and during the time of contact between the first Europeans in the area and local inhabitants (Manala Ndebele). A definite burial pit was identified, together with other cultural material. This report discusses the discoveries, as well as the methodology followed. A number of recommendations are put forward at the end of this report.

Report by

A.J. Pelser & Jaco van der Walt