Human remains were unearthed when construction workers laid new water mains in Greenpoint yesterday. Photo: Dominic Adriaanse / Cape Times
Cape Town – Construction workers laying new water mains in Green Point have unearthed human remains. 

Hired by a private developer on Monday, workers were shocked to find at least two skeletons along Cobern Street.

Following the discovery, there has been speculation on social media as to whose bones they were. But Heritage Western Cape (HWC) chief executive Dr Mxolisi Dlamuka yesterday said the area was well known for having human remains, and its archaeologists were examining the remains.

“We permitted development in Cobern Street on condition that it was monitored by an archaeologist.

“Our archaeologists have undertaken an urgent site inspection, and have found that the conditions of the permit were adhered to,” he said.

In the 1800s, following complaints from residents of flogging and hanging of criminals right outside their doors in Riebeeck Square, then Boer Plein, the government at the time had these dead people buried at the Greenpoint site known as the Gallows Hill.

Archaeology and heritage specialist Tim Hart said finds of human remains in Green Point occurred from time to time, as the area was the “Maitland” of Cape Town in the colonial period.

“Archaeologists were approached to apply for a burial relocation permit from HWC as the City council needed to do an excavation across Cobern Street (their property) to lay a water main to service a new development.

“The permit was issued after due process was followed. During excavations for the water pipe human bone was discovered, most of which has been reburied in situ under archaeological guidance,” Hart said.

Cape Times