In November 2008 human skeletal remains were discovered during construction works undertaken by Carlop Properties in the Chloorkop industrial area, Kempton Park, Gauteng. The University of Pretoria’s Forensic Anthropology Unit, FARC (Forensic Anthropology Research Centre), was notified and rescue excavations of both the exposed and undisturbed remains were undertaken. The skeletonized remains of at least 18 individuals were recovered and sent to the Department of Anatomy at the University of Pretoria for standard anthropological analysis. The identity and time period of these human remains are unknown and during social consultation no relatives could be identified. Excavations revealed a formal burial pattern which suggests a formal cemetery, probably associated with a historic institution. All individuals were buried in wooden coffins in an extended, supine position. The remains consist of both adult and juvenile remains. Some of the remains were found in a commingled state due to disturbance caused by construction work. MNI was determined by visual pair matching of skeletal elements based on similarities observed in bone morphology, age and sex, trauma and pathology, and taphonomic alterations. Bioarchaeological techniques were employed and the following preliminary results were obtained. Of the possible 18 individuals at least 15 were identified to be male, one possibly female, and two juveniles. At least five of the adult male individuals presented with cut marks associated with standard autopsy procedures. No reference to the individuals’ identity or to the context of the cemetery within the historical span of the Chloorkop area has been located. However, the burial pattern observed, as well as the demographic profile and pathology observed on the skeletal remains suggests that these individuals could possibly be linked to one of two large industrial companies in the area. The Modderfontein Dynamite Factory (circa 1895-1950s) and the Klipfontein Organic Products Factory (circa 1941-1970s) both employed large numbers of labourers, the majority of which lived in compounds on the factory premises.
Poster presented at the University of Pretoria Health Sciences Faculty Day, August 2009, Pretoria, South Africa