Duppy gold

Gravediggers striking it ‘rich’ by taking valuables from the dead

The practice of reusing graves after exhuming mortal remains is presenting a golden opportunity for some gravediggers.

According to one source familiar with cemetery work, sifting the remains for valuables such as rings, chains, gold teeth, and even silver fillings is a common practice, which sometimes pays dividends for diggers.

The practice is however not finding favour with some, who say it should be considered as stealing from the dead or desecration.

Graves that have not been purchased can be dug up and reused seven years after a burial; and often there is evidence of sloppy work by gravediggers who are more interested in valuables.

“It is not so much that we find a whole heap of stuff every time we dig up a grave, I found bangles and chains a couple times. The issue is how I see some of them treating people’s loved ones while they searching for gold. If a family member was to pass at the same time and see what does be going down, I feel it would be bare problems,” revealed one gravedigger.

Previously seen just as a ‘by-the-way’ benefit, the ghastly practice is said to have resurfaced with more frequency in recent years, resurrected by the prospects of quick returns from businesses involved in the trade of scrap gold for cash.

One gravedigger told Barbados TODAY he has sold over $3,000 worth of gold found in re-opened graves to various cash-for-gold operators. Another soil technician reported hitting “a big one” a few weeks ago.

He was referring to a gold cap pulled from an exhumed skull, which he claimed fetched $1,385. One priest, who did not want to be named, confirmed the report, but said he was concerned that if persons felt gravediggers were striking it rich, there could be the implications for the security of the cemeteries.

He also warned against placing valuables in the graves of loved ones, a position supported by Director of Lyndhurst Funeral Home George Griffith, who told Barbados TODAY his company “encourages relatives of the dearly departed to use costume jewellery instead of the genuine items”.

Meanwhile, Archdeacon of the Anglican Church Eric Lynch said he was not aware of the practice but noted that the scenario raised questions of ownership of the unearthed valuables on church property.

“There is no policy of the Anglican Church at the moment; it is a matter that I would wish to get first from the clergy, who are responsible for our cemeteries and graveyards to indicate the occurrence of this. Secondly, to ask our legal [attorneys] to advise on the ownership of such finds,” Lynch said.

While not disclosing the locations, a source also told Barbados TODAY that sifting for “duppy gold” was more likely to pay dividends at cemeteries closer to the urban corridor, although the practice was not limited to any particular site.


21 Responses to Duppy gold

  1. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid December 13, 2016 at 12:19 am

    People hear what the Arch Bishop wants to find out ? Who can claim the finds the Church or the soil technicians, hahaha them devils always bout money …

  2. Stacy Payne-Price
    Stacy Payne-Price December 13, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Deborah Payne Alison Bishop

  3. Levi Mayers
    Levi Mayers December 13, 2016 at 12:22 am

    so grave robbing is a thing that the anglican church wants to cash in on ? steups smh….sad sad what unearthed valuables on church property my tail… and these grave robbers sorry grave diggers think that this is cool..wow barbados really in a sad state

  4. Karen Sobers
    Karen Sobers December 13, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Been doing that for years

  5. Poster Man
    Poster Man December 13, 2016 at 12:36 am

    btw…where do the bones go?….

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva December 13, 2016 at 1:10 am

      Should be considered as stealing? FYI it is stealing. My aunt went to visit my dad’s grave. As she arrived she caught them digging his his grave up. They said they were using it to make a grave for another person. She got things straightened out and stopped the digging. If they were looking for a fortune they would have been out of luck. Nothing new or unusual about this practice. Got to be a low life thriving scumbag to rob the dead

    • Wrigley Don
      Wrigley Don December 13, 2016 at 1:27 am

      They throw them in the cemetery well and burn them. At least at Christ Church Parish Church. They pour gas and burn it with wood and leaves. Eventually the become ash.

  6. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid December 13, 2016 at 12:39 am

    The bones go in another hole this time multiple bones in one hole…

  7. Alan Highton
    Alan Highton December 13, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Duppy gold…..lol. Love de title!

  8. Crescentia Ismael
    Crescentia Ismael December 13, 2016 at 3:21 am

    This a disrespect and robbery

  9. Marcia December 13, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Absolutely disgusting practice! Stealing from the deceased, exhuming after 7 years??! How awful!!

  10. Sheryl Smith December 13, 2016 at 5:59 am

    I know no gold cap don’t come wid out ah set ah teet…Dey does trade-in due false teeth too?

  11. Walter Prescod December 13, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Disgraceful!! No respect for the dead and robbery.
    3 years ago i came home to the funeral of my oldest brother
    the grave was coverd with flowers from family and friends, two days later i returned to the graveyard and to my surprise they were all gone. I was and i am disappointed that this is going on!
    I was told that the flowers will be resold.
    Duppy flowers and Gold being sold for profit. Disgraceful!!

  12. Jennifer December 13, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Gold and earthly things are of no use to a dead person. They should not be buried with them in the first place. You came into this world naked and such you shall return. They rob the pharaohs graves and still looking for the lost Ark to rob that too. So nothing new.

    If a grave is not bought by the family, then it can be re-opened to make way for someone else, after all new generations keep coming. It is called turnover.

  13. Jennifer December 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Like one man wanted to be buried in his corvette. He dirtying up all them seats and interior. How selfish, leave it for someone. He will be blessed.

  14. Jennifer December 13, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Or like the man who told his wife to bury him with all his money. The woman following the smart tradition of the woman said OK to appease him and wrote him a cheque and put it in his coffin.

  15. 3rdsun December 13, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Finders keepers. Dead men tell no tales.

  16. helicopter(8P) December 13, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Here is one for job creation! Cemetery security inspectors.

  17. justsaying December 13, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    i’m sure if you the family wants them you won’t bury them in them s people its not called robbery……..stupse we have bigger issues to deal with

  18. Patricia December 13, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    As a practising WICCAN those gravedigger don’t know what will happen to them
    I hope that they leave gifts for the spirits
    Because when you take from the spirits and gave back you are in
    For lots of problems in the long run

  19. Peter December 13, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I guess more people will opt for cremation over burial now.
    It’s silly in the first place to inter a dead person with valuables. Especially precious metals and gem stones. They cannot take it to heaven nor hell with them if there are such places. From here on in anything valuable found should be declared and is subsequently owned by the SSA. as it is disowned at the time of burial. Oh I heard stories of caskets being stolen and resold. I’m sure there will be denials on that.


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