Race To Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In
About a dozen archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C., are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that was a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold, and the group is trying to recover artifacts before a developer builds condos and shops there.
"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist. Time is running out: DePratter and his team have a permit to excavate until April 30.
More than a thousand Union officers were imprisoned here during the winter of 1864. The site had been an exercise yard for patients at a mental health asylum, so the prison quickly became known as Camp Asylum.
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