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Remains Found in Union Warship

Archeology: Discovery of bone fragments inside gun turret of Civil War wreckage halts work.

July 28, 2002|From Associated Press

HATTERAS, N.C. — Archeologists excavating the wreckage of the Monitor said Friday that they had apparently found human remains inside the gun turret of the Civil War vessel.

John Broadwater, an archeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the expedition manager, said other work was halted so the remains could be preserved and analyzed.

The shipwreck is in 240 feet of water 16 miles off North Carolina's Outer Banks.

The Union warship revolutionized naval warfare when it battled the Confederate ironclad Virginia to a draw in March 1862 at Hampton Roads. It was history's first clash of ironclads.

The Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras in 1862, killing 16 officers and crew.

The wreckage was located in 1973 and was designated the first national marine sanctuary two years later.

Eric Emery, an archeologist with the Army's Central Identification Laboratory, said the remains consisted of two bone fragments, one 6 to 7 inches long, the other 10 to 11 inches long. He said it is possible that the remains will be identified.

Broadwater said the discovery probably won't delay the expedition's main purpose, which is to recover the Monitor's distinctive cylindrical gun turret for display at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News.

If the weather remains favorable, the attempt to raise the turret could begin this week.

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