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Sub crewman had filling, x-ray shows

Hunley scientists also find a rubber button stamped 'Goodyear'

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

BY SCHUYLER KROPF
Of The Post and Courier staff

 


     Archaeologists have discovered that at least one of the Hunley crewmen had a tooth condition so bad he had to get a filling.
     An X-ray of one of the skulls pulled from the sub shows a filling in one of the man's teeth, a possible indication that advanced dental skills were available in the South during the Civil War.
     Archaeologists also discovered a rubber button stamped "Goodyear" that likely is associated with a company started by Charles Goodyear, the discoverer of vulcanized rubber.
     The button, dated 1851, also has the letters "USN" on it and an anchor and rope - symbols of the U.S. Navy - although the button could have easily found its way onto a Confederate coat. It also bears the words "Novelty Products Co."
     As archaeologists close in on the lower portion of the sub, numerous everyday items owned by the Hunley crew also are being found, including a second tobacco pipe, a thimble and six other buttons that likely belonged to a sewing kit.
     A clay tobacco pipe also was found concreted to the sub's floor, further evidence that smoking was a widespread habit among Southern fighting men.
     Project manager Dr. Bob Neyland also said that collecting the bones of the eight crewmen found so far continues to slow the pace. But that isn't stopping global interest in the project, including from Web surfers who watch the excavation live on the Hunley Web camera.
     "Our site has received over one million hits daily since the excavation began," said Warren Lasch, chairman of Friends of the Hunley.
     The address is www.hunley.org.
     Although the Goodyear button was an interesting find, it is not associated with the modern-day tire company, which took the Goodyear name long after Charles Goodyear's discovery.
    

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