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‘Intact’ Bomb From Civil War Uncovered During Archeological Survey

Article reprinted from Newsweek, March 4, 2022

A group of archeologists was out surveying a new hiking trail in Cobb County, Georgia when they uncovered an unexploded bomb from the Civil War.

According to a Facebook post shared by the Southeast Archeological Center, a team was out conducting a metal detecting survey for a hiking trail at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park when they found the explosive on the last day of their survey.

The park, per the National Park Service, is a preserved battlefield that stretches nearly 3,000 acres. The similarly named battle was fought during Union General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and resulted in approximately 4,000 Union and Confederate deaths.

“Opposing forces maneuvered and fought here from June 19, 1864, until July 2, 1864,” information published on the park service’s website stated.

First established under the War Department in 1917, it later transferred to the National Park Service under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.

The archeologist team had the help of four volunteers with knowledge regarding Civil War artifacts and metal detecting.

“On the last day the team found an intact 10 lb. Parrott shell,” the Facebook post stated. “This shell had a percussion fuse that did not ignite when it hit the ground.”

Meredith Hardy, an archeologist who was out in the field, told Newsweek it was somewhat surprising to come across the bomb, but not unheard of. She explained they’ve conducted surveys on battlefield sites before and previously came across an unexploded device.

Because the site was looking into establishing a new path, Hardy said the team was purposely looking for artifacts.

This was done to be in compliance with the Historic Preservation Act to ensure no artifacts would be disturbed.

Hardy said they’ve come across other artifacts, like buttons and buckles from uniforms.

A member of the team contacted the police and technicians from the Cobb County Police Department’s bomb squad responded to the scene.

The police department said in a statement published on its Facebook page that two technicians carefully dug the bomb the rest of the way out of the ground.

“After examination and review the civil war era explosive was moved to the bunker for storage until the bomb squad can counter charge the cannon shell,” the post read.

Officials said the parrot shell was found 10 inches below the surface.

Although archeologists were using a metal detector in the area, they noted the public is not permitted to use the device in national parks.

“Archeologists use metal detectors to assist with our systematic surveys and studies of park lands, and our work is closely coordinated with park staff,” the Southeast Archeological Center’s Facebook post read.

Local volunteers might be asked to help conduct these surveys when needed.

Hardy said there was a mixture of feelings when they uncovered the device.

While there was some excitement with what was found, they understood they needed people to step back to stay safe.

The path would have run over the location where the device was found, which means this discovery may have saved a life.

“The survey did what it was supposed to do,” Hardy said.


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