oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Die soektog na Fort Drury, Bloemfontein: probleme en resultate

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



The Fort Drury research project began when two of Bloemfontein's 70 year old landmarks, namely Fort Drury Mansions and King's Court, were demolished in favour of four new office buildings. The National Monuments Council gave permission for the two apartment buildings to be demolished on condition that an archaeologist be appointed to search for any remains of the city's first fort, Fort Drury, which was built on this site in 1846. The archaeologist concerned asked the present author to undertake the archival research of the site and its buildings. In April 1846 Major H.D. Warden established a British military post on the farm 'Bloem Fontein' and a simple fort, resembling a blockhouse, was built from stones and clay on the hill just north of the perennial spring to serve as protection for the farm's only water source. By 1861 all that remained of Fort Drury were some stone walls. Because of many problems, the Fort Drury archaeological project cannot be referred to as an ideal historical excavation project. Actually it was more a case of rescue archaeology. Despite the fact that detailed excavations were undertaken no trace of the remains of Fort Drury could be found. Historical material for example, pieces of 19th and 20th century porcelain, fragments of clay pipes, glass and bones were however found while the archival research brought some interesting and mainly unknown facts to light. This article deals with the search for Fort Drury and the results of the historical and archaeological investigation.

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