Everyday items found in archaeological dig give clues to Civil War's devastation





A foot below the grasses of rural Bates County, Ann Raab’s trowel has uncovered scars of a countryside torched by the Union Army.

Burnt wood embedded in rock. Melted glass, scorched ceramics and discolored soil where a flaming wall fell.

As a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at the University of Kansas, Raab is less interested in the signs of destruction than in the ordinary remnants of lives ravaged. Buttons, for example, offer clues to the kinds of coveralls western Missourians left behind when forced off their properties in 1863.




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