Archaeologists conclude spring operations at Mars Bluff
Archaeologists at the University of South Carolina will conclude their spring operations today (Thursday, June 18) along the Pee Dee River, where they have located the Mars Bluff Naval Yard and two of three cannon from the gunboat C.S.S. Pee Dee.
Since the researchers began their work in late April, the site has been open to the public each Friday. There will be no public viewing day Friday, June 19.
The university archaeology team, under the joint direction of Dr. Christopher Amer and Dr. Jonathan Leader, will return in October to locate the final Brooke rifled cannon and continue the land search for navy yard foundations and the smithy. Until then, the researchers, which include students from East Carolina University, Francis Marion University and the University of South Carolina, will analyze the artifacts recovered from the naval yard and the river and prepare for the conservation of the cannon once they are raised. Conservation of the smaller finds is under way under Leader’s supervision.
The fall underwater archaeology operation will push back the raising of the cannon to early spring 2010.
The project of the S.C. Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) at the University of South Carolina is funded in part by a $200,000 grant from the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence. SCIAA, part of the College of the Arts and Sciences, was established in 1963 as a university research institute and a cultural resource management agency for the state of South Carolina.
To learn more about SCIAA, its research projects and outreach programs, visit the Web site – www.cas.sc.edu/sciaa/ – or call 803-777-8170.