Scandinavia's magersfontein dead - Their final resting place?

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Well entrenched on the heritage landscape, bAagersfontein is marked with monuments and memorials to the fallen, former burial sites and a museum, and more broadly the site is integrated into the heritage landscape. However, not all who perished on the Republican side were burghers from the Orange Free State and South African Republics. A Scandinavian Corps of volunteers aligned to the Transvaal forces saw action and suffered the highest proportional losses of all the Boer Commandos during the action. Buried where they fell, popular historical discourses are tliat their graves are the only burials which remain on the battlefield, after exhumations and relocations of the fallen of both sides was concluded in 1968. This paper refutes this accepted historical 'truth'. The research question posed is are the Scandinavian Corps casualties currently buried on the battlefield beneath the twin Waldemaar crosses, which accepted history has as their graves? This article will use primary archival sources combined with terrain research of the battlefield to establish a conclusion that the twin Waldemaar crosses at Magersfontein are not the Scandinavian fallen final resting place. The article will provide an answer as to where this final burial site is and why in 1908 their memorial was erected where it currently stands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Archaeological Bulletin
Issue number206
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Magersfontein
  • Memorials
  • Reburials
  • Scandinavians
  • South African War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology


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