Archaeologists finding a wealth of artifacts


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Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Of The Post and Courier staff

     It is the kind of a problem that archaeologists don't often face: more artifacts than they really have room to store.
     But the scientists excavating the Hunley are finding the crew of the Confederate submarine were much like Boy Scouts - they were prepared. They carried everything you could imagine needing.
     Bob Neyland, the project manager, said Tuesday that scientists have removed the first leather shoe found in the submarine - and that's just the beginning.
     "It's kind of daunting when you think about all the stuff that's in there," Neyland said. "One shoe down, 17 more to go."
     The Hunley project has a good bit of room at the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab in North Charleston, but as the excavation nears the bottom of the sub, scientists are a little surprised by how much they have to fill it.
     In just the past few days, they have found a wooden tobacco pipe, a fragile tin canteen, the nub of a pencil and other brass buttons. In recent weeks, they've found a medicine bottle and more buttons.
     All these artifacts ensure that Paul Mardikian, the project's conservator, will have a job for some time. Mardikian will oversee the restoration of all artifacts before they are put on public display.
     Restoration is one thing, though, and storage is another. In other words, donations for artifact boxes are appreciated.
     The excavation is expected to continue for another 30-60 days.

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


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