Diggers were left in shock after they unearthed what appears to be a shallow grave in Simon’s Town. The discovery was made during the construction of a new block of flats in the area, where more than a hundred bones were reportedly found.
The bones are estimated to be close to 300 years old.
Construction has been temporarily halted after the discovery to accomodate for the skeletons to be re-buried at a cemetery in Seaforth. The area where they were dug up is suspected to be remnants from when the Dutch colony first began thriving in Cape Town.
“The Dutch East India Company started using Simon’s Town as a winter harbour from 1741 so from that time on they built a hospital there in 1760,” Simon Liell-Cock, Simon’s Town ward councillor, said to CapeTalk. “This appears to be a shallow graveyard which has under 100 bodies and they are all naked. It seems to be quiet evident that they come from the Dutch East India Company hospital because there are no other artefacts or buttons, they were essentially naked and buried dead right where there was the hospital site.”
Heritage Western Cape, which is the province’s heritage resources authority, has also gotten involved in the excavation.
The bone analysis and DNA extracted from the skeletons’ teeth may also be able to shed more light on those who worked for the Dutch East India Company, their average life expectancy and what they used to eat.