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Watery battlefield in Charleston Harbor mapped

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Scientists from the University of South Carolina have finished the almost four-year project of mapping Civil War wrecks in Charleston Harbor.

The work of James Spirek and others at the university's Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology found the location of the so-called Stone Fleet and of 13 wrecked Confederate blockade runners.

The Stone Fleet was comprised of old whaling and merchant vessels the Union brought from New England. The hulks were filled with stones and sunk in the harbor to obstruct Confederate shipping.

Spirek's team located the first Stone Fleet by detecting ballast mounds beneath the main shipping channel. A second group of 13 ships is in another channel and its location has proved elusive. Spirek plans to return to the harbor later this year to explore further.

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On the Internet:

University of South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology map of the Charleston Harbor Battlefield: http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/sciaa/mrd/regsvys_chashbr.html

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Follow Bruce Smith at http://twitter.com/brucesmithap