A report on the investigation of a number of unmarked graves on portion 90 (a portion of portion 11)
of the farm The Rest 454 JT,
Nelspruit, Mpumalanga


Archaetnos cc was requested by Thunderstruck Investments 55 (Pty) Ltd to investigate a number of unmarked graves, in conjunction with Zenzele Funeral Home from Witbank , on Portion 90 (a portion of portion 11) of the farm The Rest 454 JT in Nelspruit. The possibility of the existence of these graves were reported by local community members and descendants of the deceased buried on this property. A low density housing development is in the process of being undertaken here, and the graves were not identified during initial surveys and the HIA carried out here before the development commenced.

No grave stones (dressing) were visible, and the possible location of the graves was indicated to the archaeologists by the community during social consultation. According to the community a paved road, cutting through the property, covered these graves. The developer agreed to lift the paving, and excavations were done in the area indicated by the community members.

Approximately 6 graves were reported to be present, and because no physical surface signs existed, it was decided to dig a number of test trenches over the area. Sixteen trenches in total were dug. No evidence of any burial pits, or human skeletal remains, was found in any of the excavations. Community members were present at all times during the excavations, and have conceded that no remains are indeed present, although they insist that there were graves.

It is our believe that the development can progress, but that negotiations between the developer and the community should continue so that a suitable solution can be decided upon.

Report by

Anton Pelser