Following the announcement in August that an archaeological team from Georgia Southern University had discovered the site of the Camp Lawton Civil War prison site at Magnolia Springs Park in Millen, five glass cases holding a few of the artifacts have been unveiled to the public.
Each case held about 25 items and represented a particular kind of artifact — buttons, personal items, military objects, utensils and hardware. As people walked past the cases, each would stop and look closely at the amazing pieces of history in front of them.
But the items were out for only a short time that day and have not been available for public viewing since Aug. 18.
Sunday, those artifacts and more uncovered at Camp Lawton will go on display at the Georgia Southern University Museum.
The artifacts, which include many priceless and unique finds, were discovered by a archaeology team led by university anthropology professor Sue Moore, Ph.D. and graduate student Kevin Chapman.
The team 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.
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.
The artifacts, which include a tobacco pipe, tourniquet buckle, and photo frame, are personal in nature. Researchers believe many of the artifacts were 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.”
In addition to the artifacts, museum displays also will 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 Sunday from 2-5 p.m. and then during regular Georgia Southern University Museum hours until May 1, 2011. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m. 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.
Call (912) 478-5444 for more information about the exhibit.