Sunday, August 22, 2010

Civil War POW camp in rural Georgia uncovered by archaeologists

Archaeologists have uncovered one of the most significant Civil War discoveries in decades near Millen, Ga.

A Georgia Southern University archaeological team excavated numerous Civil War artifacts from the Confederacy's Camp Lawton, a prisoner of war camp in southeast Georgia that housed some 10,000 Union prisoners over a six-week period in late 1864.

Until now, the short-lived site has been of little interest to scholars. The camp's exact location was unknown, and archaeologists thought the possibility of finding anything significant was slim.

But experts are now calling the unexpected findings "one of the most exciting and intriguing Civil War discoveries of the modern era."

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Southern University and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced a major historic discovery: the archaeology excavation of numerous Civil War artifacts from Camp Lawton on the property of Bo Ginn National Fish Hatchery, which the Service administers.

The announcement was made at Magnolia Springs State Park, operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, where the majority of Camp Lawton’s stockade and Fort Lawton earthworks exist. Following the announcement, the public was able to view many of the artifacts, including some of the prisoners’ personal items, at an open house at the park.

“This is a unique and very unexpected discovery,” said Richard Kanaski, Regional Archaeologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region. “It appears to be one of the most intact and undisturbed Civil War archaeological sites found in decades, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking great care to make sure this valuable resource is protected for the American people, who are the owners of this site and these artifacts.”

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