Boer War ammo cache uncovered

2012-07-13 00:00

WORKERS putting in fencing posts at Bergville yesterday discovered what appears to be a cache of ammunition and other material from the Anglo-Boer War.

Lee-Enfield rifle rounds were found in significant numbers in what appeared to be decayed ammunition boxes as holes were dug for pallisade fencing along the edge of the netball field of Bergville High School.

The Bergville police were called in with the army bomb disposal squad for the ammunition to be destroyed, but the operation was cancelled because the bullets are protected heritage objects.

Archaeologists from Amafa are investigating the site and the relics.

About 5 700 bullets had been recovered so far, said Amafa.

Indications are 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,” said archaeologist Annie van de Venter-Radford, deputy director, professional and research services, with Amafa.

“The only one still standing is used as headquarters for the local Memorable Order of Tin Hats organisation and is a declared monument. The blockhouses were 300 metres apart and this site fits with that exactly.

She said it was “refreshing” to see various government agencies, academics and other concerned groups work together, ensuring that a valuable part of the province’s history could be researched.

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