COLLEGE STATION — The Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University is set Monday to receive four cannons from the wreckage of the Civil War vessel CSS Georgia.
The cannons were aboard the Confederate ironclad that is being raised from the Savannah River, along with other artifacts, as part of a channel-deepening project.
The CRL is working on the $15 million removal project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy, which owns the ship and its contents, to conserve many of the artifacts for eventual display.
Divers have also found more than 145 artillery rounds and projectiles, condiment and wine bottles, pottery, a deck light, cannon sights and musket trigger guards.
Jim Jobling, CRL project manager, said that even with the 1,500 artifacts found over the past six months, officials “have only scratched the surface.”
“I know there are going to be significant finds,” he added.
As many as 10 cannons may be aboard the CSS Georgia, officials said. Four were recovered this week, the largest being a 9-inch Dahlgren that weighs about 10,000 pounds. Two others were recovered years ago and are at Old Fort Jackson.
Lt. Liza Dougherty, public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy group, said Navy and other personnel involved in the project know the recovery of artifacts has "tremendous historical impact. It is impossible to miss."
Archaeologists at the CRL will preserve the cannons, and other artifacts, through chemical and other means. The process is expected to take about two years to complete.
The CSS Georgia was scuttled by its crew right before Savannah fell to Union forces in December 1864.
The CRL, directed by Donny L. Hamilton, is one of the oldest continuously operated conservation laboratories that deals primarily with archaeological material from shipwrecks and other underwater sites.