oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Exhumation and analysis of the remains of a black native participant in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



Human remains and cultural objects were found in a hole dug by farm labourers in a mealie field on the farm Lynnwood in the Dundee district of KwaZulu-Natal. The remains and cultural materials were excavated archaeologically. The skeletal remains were studied on site before being taken away for reinterment. The location of the remains within the grave, and the manner in which the skeletal remains were found, suggest that the individual was possibly buried in a niche grave. Morphological features, such as the everted gonial angles of the mandible and the square chin, indicate a male individual. A tentative age of 30-40 years old is suggested on the grounds of tooth wear. Even though, due to poor preservation, few cranial measurements were possible, the degree of prognathism suggested an individual of South African Negroid descent. A Penrose analysis of the measurements of the posterior teeth of the Lynnwood skull, those of members of the South African Negroid Population, some South African whites and modem British individuals was conducted. As regards both the mandible and the maxilla the teeth of the Lynnwood skull were assessed to be closest to those of the South African Negroid population. Enamel hypoplasia was observed on the teeth indicating dietary stress or acute infection which occurred between 0.8 and 2.1 years of age. Lesions that could indicate a gunshot wound were observed in the right frontoparietal area. Cultural materials found in the grave suggest a manner of dress similar to that worn by black native people during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. Black native people played an active role in this war and it is proposed that the excavated individual was employed by the British military in an unknown capacity.

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