River Dredging Brings Up a Possibly Revolutionary Find

Artifacts discovered in Georgia, including cannons and anchor, could be from late-1700s warship
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2021 9:50 AM CDT
River Dredging Brings Up a Possibly Revolutionary Find
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Maxian)

What was supposed to be a routine dredging in the Savannah River turned up a handful of artifacts that might date back to the Revolutionary War. The AP reports that three barnacle-encrusted cannons, a rusty anchor, and a big piece of wood that could be a piece of a ship were pulled up in Georgia last month, and archaeologists don't think the pieces are from a previously discovered vessel that was deliberately sunk by Confederate forces in the mid-1860s. Per FOX23, the Army Corps of Engineers made the find on Feb. 22 while using a clamshell dredger in an effort to clear muck and expand the river's depth. "It looks pre-Civil War from what we can see of it," an Army Corps spokesman tells the AP of the 5-foot-long cannons, which some experts believe might be from the HMS Rose, a famous British warship scuttled by its crew in Savannah's harbor in September 1779.

A replica of the ship was used in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and in 2003's Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe. The original ship was described by the British Royal Navy as a "scourge" on the American colonists during Revolutionary War times, per CNN. The ship was intentionally sent to the bottom of the river by British forces to keep French ships out of that part of the waterway. The Brits eventually won the battle and left the city by 1782. "I think it is a significant find," Robert Neyland, the head of underwater archaeology for the Naval History and Heritage Command, tells CNN. "Future investigation will tell us just how significant." A Royal Navy spokesman calls the possibility that the artifacts are from the HMS Rose "fascinating," per a statement. While scientists try to figure out the artifacts' origins, dredging in the river has been temporarily halted. (More discoveries stories.)

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