Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Shelters Unearthed at Camp Asylum

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(Jack E. Boucher, Public Domain)COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA—Three pits have been found on the grounds of the South Carolina State Hospital. The site was once home to Camp Asylum, a Civil War-era prison camp where some 1,500 Union soldiers were held. They may have dug the pits as shelter during the winter of 1864-65, since the barracks at the mental hospital only held 400 men. Artifacts recovered in the excavation include a brass button embossed with an eagle; a copper straight pin; a moustache comb for removing lice; an iron mug; and a piece of woolen fabric that may have come from a uniform. Much of the site will not be investigated before new development begins in a few months.