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USC archaeologist to begin dig at former Civil War prison camp at Bull Street site

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A University of South Carolina research archaeologist has been given permission to conduct a dig at a former Civil War prison camp on the site of the former Bull Street asylum.

Dr. Chester DePratter, USC archaeologist, received a permit Tuesday from the Department of Mental Health to be allowed to study the site for artifacts for four months. DePratter says he will begin Monday.

Camp Asylum was used during the waning years of the Civil War to "imprison" Union soldiers captured by the Confederate Army.  Security at the site was somewhat lacking as there were no fortified buildings to house the soldiers, who lived in tents or holes dug into the ground.

The Bull Street property was sold this summer to Greenville developer Bob Hughes.  The development plan includes residential, commercial and retail property.

DePratter says the study includes mapping the area where soldiers were held, searching for artifacts, and investigating the possibility of an escape tunnel.  Researchers will use radar to determine if the ground holds other secrets.

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