Grave Encounters

GRAVE ENCOUNTERS

Malan A., Halkett D., Hart T. and Schietecatte L. 2017. Grave Encounters. Archaeology of the burial grounds, Green Point, South Africa. With preface by Professor Carmel Schrire.

ISBN: 978-0-620-71752-6

Summary: Grave Encounters provides a framework for understanding the historical layering of a small corner of Cape Town that has become defined by its links to death, urbanisation, social engineering and disputes. The first half of the story explains how the cemeteries were established in this area and why and when they were removed – and also why human skeletons are still being discovered in unexpected places. The second half describes excavations at four sites and discusses what was discovered and what has been learned in the process.

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This book was prepared with financial support from Lotto and published with financial support from the Cape Town Heritage Trust and the Simon van der Stel Foundation.

“This is a book that reveals the history of South Africa’s Mother City – captivating, picturesque, and downright spooky – that rests on the long-forgotten bones of the people who made it. … This wonderfully illustrated book describes the processes of discovery, retrieval and possession within an enchanting framework of empathic scholarship.”
Carmel Schrire
 
book cover
 
 
Content:
Acknowledgements ...................................................ii
Preface .....................................................................iii
 

Ch 1:  What lies beneath roads, pavements and buildings                1  

• The making of Green Point

Ch 2:  Disposing of the dead: a history of burials and Green Point 15

• Gathering, hunting and herding at the Cape

• Of slaves, soldiers and shipwrecks: dying at a Dutch East India outpost

• Who buried the dead?

• Conflicts: cemeteries and British commerce

• Poverty, dirt and cleansing

• Living and dead: social and spatial engineering

• Disturbing the dead: changing attitudes

Ch 3: Unmarked burial grounds in Green Point                                 53

• Finding traces everywhere

• Outside the formal cemeteries: Cobern Street

• A paupers’ burial ground: Marina Residential

• A comparative forensic study: Cobern Street and Marina Residential

• Mass reburial sites: BP Corporate Headquarters

• Upheavals to come

Ch 4: Prestwich Street: the discovery that divided                           81

• The archaeology of Prestwich Street

• Analysing the data

• Beyond the cause célèbre

Ch 5: Making sense of what remains                                                 103

• The voiceless of Cape Town: what have we learned about their lives?

• History, heritage, symbolism and transformation

• Overlooked, hidden, elided and displaced

 
Glossary .................................................................114
Bibliography ..........................................................116
Index .....................................................................121