Downtown dig uncovers POW camp artifacts

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MOUNDVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) – Before construction could begin on downtown Tuscaloosa’s new Embassy Suites hotel, researchers had to do an archeological study of the site.  The investigation began in January, and researchers tore through asphalt and gravel to see if anything of historical significance was hidden underneath.  Researchers were expecting to find something, but they were shocked by how much they found.

They discovered a number of bottles, bones, coins, and even a pipe with a Mason symbol carved on it.  They found Spanish coins dating back to the 1700’s that prove that Tuscaloosa has always done more international business than most people expect from the small college town.  One of the most interesting findings were letters from a printing press that was on the first floor of a, once abandoned warehouse.

PHOTOS: Artifacts found in Moundville

During the Civil War, the warehouse was used as a POW camp.  Union soldiers were held in deplorable conditions on the second floor of the warehouse.  The artifacts indicate that the soliders discovered the printing press at some point, and began to use it to produce counterfeit money.  The soliders would use the money to bribe guards, and when they were transferred to another POW camp in Chattanooga, the counterfeit money flooded the city.


There are thousands of artifacts dating back over 200 years that were uncovered.  Researchers say it is possible that the artifacts will be incorporated into the new hotel’s lobby so that members of the public can see what was uncovered.

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