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Slave artifacts found at Ga. highway project site

By Russ Bynum Associated Press | 12/2/2013, 9:42 a.m.
In a spring 2013 photo provided by New South Associates Inc., archaeologists Brad Botwick, left, Cory Green, and Nicole Isenbarger, right, excavate, sift soil, and map part of a former plantation site in Savannah, Ga. The site, which is being excavated prior to construction of a highway project, yielded thousands of artifacts that archaeologists believe belonged to slaves. Photo by Rita Elliot/Associated Press.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The site of a $30 million highway project in Savannah has turned up thousands of artifacts from what archaeologists believe were once slave quarters on the property.

A team of archaeologists spent three months surveying the 20-acre tract on Savannah's suburban south side, where the state Department of Transportation plans next year to build an elevated section of highway over a busy residential crossing.

Archaeologist Rita Elliott says the team found more than 33,000 artifacts including an 1831 Mexican coin, nails from long-decayed wooden dwellings, and broken plates and bottles. Bullets, buttons and other evidence of a Union campsite from the Civil War also were found.

Elliott says records show the land was part of a plantation owned by a Savannah attorney named William Miller, who owned 87 slaves.