A team of underwater archaeologists from the University of South Carolina will begin work to locate and raise three Confederate cannons – each weighing upwards of 5 tons – from the silty sediment at the bottom of Mars Bluff on the Pee Dee River.
Led by state underwater archaeologist Dr. Christopher Amer, researchers from the university’s S.C. Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology will use remote sensing technology, including a magnetometer that identifies the presence of iron, to survey the Confederate Mars Bluff Navy Yard on the Pee Dee River and locate the the four and one half, five and seven and one-half -ton cannons.
The Navy Yard is on the east side of the river in Marion County.
The survey is set to begin April 30, with location of the cannons and excavation of the Naval Yard taking place in late May to mid-June.
Once located and verified, the cannons, also called gun tubes, will be raised as early as this fall.
The project is funded in part by a $200,000 grant from the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence.
The Mars Bluff Naval Yard was one of seven Confederate naval yards that were located inland so gunboats and support vessels for the war could be built and protected from Union forces.
Mars Bluff was chosen for its inland location, proximity to the railroad, water communication with Charleston via Georgetown and the abundance of ash, oak and pine lumber.