Child’s skull found near Peers Cave

A police helicopter hovers over the mountainside near Peers Cave after dropping off Warrant Officer Riaan le Roux, from the SAPS Search and Rescue Unit, with his dog Ronda, during a search for human remains.

Fish Hoek police have opened an inquest following the discovery of a skull near the historic Peers Cave.

Preliminary tests show the skull is that of a child between the age of 3-to-5-years-old and it is estimated to have been there for at least five years, according to police spokesman Warrant Officer Peter Middelton.

On Friday July 23, members from the SAPS Search and Rescue Unit found a femur on the mountainside after an extensive search of the area by a police helicopter.

Warrant Officer Middelton said the bones had been sent for forensic analysis, the outcome of which would determine the course of the investigation.

However, police are looking at unsolved missing children’s cases for the past 10 years.

According to investigating officer Detective Sergeant Dawie Steenkamp, a microbiologist conducting plant and animal research on the mountain found the skull on Monday July 19.

He said the skull was partially covered by sand when she had found it, and, not realising it was human, she took it home.

When she discovered that it was human, she contacted the police and pointed out where she had found it.

“No other items were found in close proximity to the skull,” he said.

The Echo asked the Pink Ladies if they had any cold cases of missing children in the far south, but Pink Ladies director Dessie Rechner said she could not comment and referred the Echo to the police.

Fish Hoek is home to an early Stone Age site where the remains of “the Fish Hoek Man” were found, according to the Fish Hoek Valley Museum. The skull of the Fish Hoek Man had the largest brain area of any skull of its age found up until that time and was estimated to have been 12 000 years old.

The site, now known as Peers Cave, was discovered and excavated by amateur archaeologist Victor Peers in 1927. He and his son, Bertie, were residents of Fish Hoek at the time and discovered and documented Khoisan rock art, stone tools, and an ancient burial site. Peers Cave was declared a national monument in January 1941.

In May 2015, the skull of an eight-year-old child was found on the dunes in Noordhoek during a beach clean-up.

It was determined that the child was most likely part of one of the hunter-gatherer communities that lived along the South African coast for many thousands of years. The child was buried in a sitting position, with its legs drawn up to its chest which was typical of burials of pre-colonial people on the coast.