COLUMBIA, S.C. – A search for potential Civil War artifacts on the Congaree River at the Senate Street boat landing will begin at the end of this month.
Historical reports say they could be explosives left behind in 1865 from Gen. William T. Sherman’s march through Columbia
“There has been historical evidence for a long time to suggest that there might be historical artifacts beneath this portion of the river,” Public Affairs Specialist for SCE&G Ginny Jones said. “But no one really knows because we haven’t been able to dig them up.”
Later this month, SCE&G contractors will gate off the area on the boat landing, and dig 4 to 7 feet to get the metal objects out of the ground. Jones says the objects might be debris, but evidence suggests it could be a part of South Carolina’s history.
The initial project was not to dig up these objects, but to clean a tar like substance that was discovered about five years ago by a someone kayaking down the river. Jones said the substance was tested and might be run off from power plants in Columbia a century ago.
Now, there is concern these objects could be dangerous explosives, and although chances aren’t high, SCE&G is still going to protect the public by not letting them close by, and laying sand bags. These objects are of concern because they need to be dug up before cleaning the tar like substance from the riverbed.
Jones says if anything historical is found, it will be cared for properly and preserved.
She said, “As a company that’s been here for a long time we are very interested in our state’s history and preserving that.”
The clean up project will cost about $18.5 million.
Jones asks that the public respect the area while work is going on, and to avoid cleanup areas until they finish in October.
She said explosive experts from Tennessee will oversee the recovery of the objects and indicate any threats.