History : Nov-Dec 2018
NEWS They sent the remains to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Analysis of the bones confirmed that they were hu- man and dated to the Civil War (1861-65). Excavations were led by the battlefield park’s super- intendent, Brandon Bies, and the Smithsonian’s Douglas he discovery of a sur- geon’s pit at a Civil War battlefield has shed new light on the wounded and the doctors who tried to save them. In 2014 the National Park Service found bone fragments while working on a utility project at Manassas Nation- al Battlefield Park in Virginia. Civil War Surgeon’s Pit Reveals Soldiers’ Fates A pioneering study of human bones found at Manassas National Battlefield Park exposes the life-or-death choices of Civil War combat surgeons. BATTLEFIELD ARCHAEOLOGY Owsley, Ph.D., and Kari Bru- welheide. Their teams uncov- ered two complete skeletons and 11 amputated limbs, tell- tale signs of a surgeon’s burial pit. The first of its kind ever studied at a Civil War bat- tlefield, the site is revealing valuable details about the men who fought and the field surgeons who healed them. 4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 T ARCHAEOLOGISTS FOUND AN ENFIELD BULLET EMBEDDED IN A FEMUR FROM THE PIT. KATED.SHERWOOD/SMITHSONIANINSTITUTIONKATED.SHERWOOD/SMITHSONIANINSTITUTIONMPI/GETTYIMAGESNPS/NATHANKING TOP LEFT: Archaeologists carefully excavate the surgeon’s pit at Manassas National Battlefield Park. ABOVE: Kari Bruwelheide of the Smithsonian Institution examines remains found at the site. BOTTOM LEFT: An illustration of the Battle of Second Manassas (also known as the Second Battle of Bull Run) depicts the violent confrontation fought in August 1862.