Archaeologists discover well that gives glimpse of William & Mary's Civil War history

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RICHMOND, Va. — Archaeologists at the College of William and Mary have uncovered what's believed to be a Civil War-era well and other artifacts, a discovery that opens a window into a part of history largely overshadowed by the school's close association with the Colonial era.

Crews doing archaeological studies ahead of a planned utility project on the oldest part of the Williamsburg campus recently uncovered the well, as well as minie balls, or lead bullets first used in the Civil War. They also found remnants of what could be a brick wall, along with pieces of bottle glass and pottery that date to the period when federal troops occupied school grounds.

"The Civil War is definitely a period where there was concentrated activity," said Joe Jones, director of William and Mary's Center for Archaeological Research.

William and Mary was among many Southern colleges that closed during the 1861-1865 war. In the war's run-up, William and Mary students overwhelmingly supported Virginia's secession, thinking doing so could help create a new nation where their state would be at the forefront, said historian Sean Heuvel, a leadership and American Studies instructor at Christopher Newport University....

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