Pipe, canteen mingle with mud at sub's bottom
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
BY BRIAN HICKS
Of The Post and Courier staff
Archaeologists are finding a number of personal belongings
from the crew of the Hunley mingled in the sediment near the bottom of the Confederate
submarine's central compartment.
Scientists have uncovered a wooden pipe that one crewman used to
smoke, but probably not while on board the sub. And the rounded object found lodged on the
submarine's hand cranks is a tin canteen.
Harry Pecorelli, an archaeologist working with the excavation
team, said the dig is getting close enough to the bottom of the sub in some areas of the
crew compartment - less than a foot from the floor near the back - that scientists are
able to remove some of the artifacts.
The canteen, lightly covered with concretion like the sub's hull,
was being removed Monday afternoon. A leather boot or shoe has been found packed with mud.
That will be removed and X-rayed.
Scientists have also found more buttons and textiles inside the
submarine. The artifacts are covered in the black clay-like sediment that was packed in
the submarine, so it's hard to make out their color. However, a couple of threads of
material recovered appear light blue.
The archaeologists most likely will finish excavating the rear of
the sub before delving deeper into the silt-filled forward area, which is where sub
commander George Dixon sat and steered.
The Hunley was lifted out of the ocean in August, 136 years after
it sank the USS Housatonic and disappeared outside Charleston Harbor.
Used with permission of The Post and Courier