THE HUNLEY .com

Another Crewman Revealed

The newly found leg bones are well-preserved and are located near where buttons were found earlier

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

BY BRIAN HICKS
Of The Post and Courier staff

 


     Archaeologists have found another Hunley crew member buried in the Confederate submarine's silt-filled interior.
     Scientists on Tuesday discovered two femur and trochanter bones about midway back in the sub's crew compartment. The bones, all leg bones, are far enough from the remains found a week ago that archaeologists feel fairly sure they are from a second crew member.
     Bob Neyland, the project manager, said the femurs are sticking straight up and are not connected to other bones - at least at the top ends.
     "The remains are well preserved, as were those uncovered last week, and it will be some time before the remains are removed from the submarine," Neyland said.
     The latest bones were discovered near the spot of the excavation's first significant find - metal artillery unit buttons.
     Scientists expect to find the remains of all nine members of the Hunley's final crew, which disappeared on Feb. 17, 1864, after sinking the Union sloop Housatonic.
     The archaeologists also have uncovered more bones connected to the first remains discovered, mostly additional vertebrae. Dr. Doug Owsley, head of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution, said those remains are in good enough shape to tell that the seaman's spine took a real pounding, possibly from the heavy work of turning the submarine's propeller with hand cranks.
     The excavation is escalating into a phase of heavy findings. New artifacts turn up almost daily. The archaeologists have finally uncovered some parts of the hand crank and have found a couple of more wooden buttons. As more of the clay like sediment is removed, archaeologists are also beginning to see more of the hand pump used to empty the aft ballast tank.
     On the portside bench the crew sat on, Neyland said they have found more textiles. The team has cleared more sediment from the wooden bench and have found several pieces of textile on it so far.
     Other scientists connected to the project have started researching the artifacts recovered from the sub so far. Dr. Jonathan Leader of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology said the bottle recovered more than a week ago was manufactured in England and most likely held medicine - such as a seasickness concoction - or "a form of courage." That would be booze.
     Neyland expects the excavation, which has slowed slightly with the discovery of human remains, to continue for another month. Scientists expect to find more remains and the majority of artifacts lower in the sub, where they most likely would have settled after it sank.

Used with permission of The Post and Courier and Charleston.Net