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AMMUNITION and other material believed to be from the Anglo-Boer War has been discovered by workmen putting up a fence near a school in Bergville.
Lee-Enfield rifle rounds were found in significant numbers in what appeared to be decayed ammunition boxes when holes were dug for palisade fencing along the edge of a field at Bergville High School.
Archaeologist Annie van de Venter-Radford, deputy director for professional and research services with Amafa, said that 5 700 bullets had been recovered since the discovery on Friday last week.
“The Bergville police had called in the army bomb disposal squad for the ammunition to be destroyed, but that has been cancelled because the bullets are protected heritage objects and archaeologists from KZN heritage agency Amafa are now investigating the site and the relics,” she said.
Van de Venter-Radford said that for now work on the fencing project for the local depot of the provincial Department of Transport had been suspended while the Amafa investigations continued.
Indications were that the site was a British blockhouse, built to stop Boer incursions across the Tugela River.
“There was a system of blockhouses in this area,” she said. “The only one still standing is used as the headquarters for the local Moth organisation and is a declared monument. The blockhouses were 300m apart, and this site fits with that exactly.”
Van de Venter-Radford said that the police, the Hawks, local government and the Moths were assisting.
“We contacted the Hawks to assist us in explaining the legislative procedures to the Bergville police station,” she said. “Legislation empowers any serving member of the police to act as heritage inspectors and stop any development that has disturbed any heritage site. This is a requirement of both provincial and national legislation.”
She said it was an interesting find and they needed to investigate it properly. Investigations would be concluded in the next few weeks.
Anton Pelser, a Pretoria archaeologist and expert on the Anglo-Boer War, was assisting with the investigation of the site, added Van de Venter-Radford.