Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exhibit of Newly Discovered Civil War Artifacts Now Open at Georgia Southern University Museum

Artifacts uncovered earlier this year at Camp Lawton, the site of the Civil War’s largest prisoner camp, is now on display at the Georgia Southern University Museum.

The artifacts, which include many priceless and unique finds, were discovered by a Georgia Southern University archaeology team excavating at Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, Ga. The team, led by University anthropology professor Sue Moore, Ph.D. and graduate student Kevin Chapman, was working to locate the stockade wall that surrounded Camp Lawton during the Civil War. In addition to locating parts of the wall, the team uncovered numerous personal artifacts left behind by soldiers who were imprisoned there or were stationed there as part of the Confederate Army.  News of the discovery made headlines around the world when it was announced in August.

The artifacts, which include a tobacco pipe, tourniquet buckle, and photo frame, are very personal in nature. Researchers believe many of the artifacts may have been left behind when Union prisoners of war were awakened in the middle of the night by Confederate soldiers as the camp was evacuated in advance of Sherman’s approaching army during his “March to the Sea.” Researchers were stunned by the numerous finds at the Camp Lawton site, because artifacts from most Civil War prison camps have been lost due to farming, development and looting.

In addition to the artifacts, museum displays will also educate visitors on the harsh realities of life at Camp Lawton, including a display that shows the meager amount of food allotted to each person at the camp.

The exhibit will be on display during regular Georgia Southern University Museum hours until May 1, 2011. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. The museum is closed Monday and on University holidays. Museum admission is $2 per person. Georgia Southern students with a valid I.D., museum members, and children under 3 years of age are admitted free of charge.

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