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More remains found in Hunley

A femur and tibia believed to belong to a third crewman were uncovered

Saturday, March 31, 2001

BY BRIAN HICKS
Of The Post and Courier staff

 


     Archaeologists believe they have found a third member of the Hunley's crew deep in the silt amidships on the Confederate submarine.
     As scientists excavating the sub's interior get close to the floor in some places, they expect to find even more remains of the Hunley's nine crewmen.
     Bob Neyland, Hunley project manager, said Friday that archaeologists discovered a femur and tibia buried in the clay-like muck about halfway between where the first and second crewmen were found.
     The leg bones were found near a leather belt that workers uncovered more than a week ago.
     Neyland said there is a slight chance the bones are from the first crewman found, but they could not be from the second crewman. The remains of the second crewman found include both of his femurs.
     Most likely, Neyland said, the latest bones are from a third man.
     Archaeologists are now working around what they believe is one-third of the sub's crew as they continue digging.
     "All remains are still in the sub," Neyland said. "We aren't going to move them yet."
     Neyland said archaeologists have excavated to within 13 inches of the sub's floor in some parts of the crew compartment. There, they expect to find more remains from the crew, which most likely settled into the silt.
     The area with the most excavation remaining is the forward section of the 25-foot-long crew compartment, where sub commander Lt. George Dixon would have sat, controlling the rudder, diving planes and forward ballast tank. Chief archaeologist Maria Jacobsen has to climb completely into the sub to excavate that area because the hull plates over that section could not be removed.
     When the remains are removed from the sub, the nine crew members - or however many are found - will be reassembled and identified by physical anthropologists from the Smithsonian Institution. After extensive testing of the remains, scientists hope to be able to reconstruct the faces of the crewmen using computer imaging and mapping of the skulls.
     Following the study period, the crew members will be buried in Magnolia Cemetery alongside the Hunley's two previous crews, both of which perished in Charleston Harbor.
     Neyland said at the rate his crew is working, he expects the excavation to last another 30 to 60 days. They started the work at the beginning of March.


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

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