Geophysical and ground truthing examination of the Confederate prison in Salisbury, North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Megan Cope (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Roy Stine

Abstract: In the year 1861, in Salisbury, North Carolina, an empty cotton factory stood on the 300 block of East Bank Street, within sight of the railroad tracks. Later that year the factory was converted into barracks for a Confederate military prison. This prison, only built to contain 2,500 men, at its peak held 10,000 prisoners of war. The captured Union soldiers outnumbered the actual 1860s population of Salisbury. In 1865, the last of the healthy 3,729 prisoners, were shipped off to Greensboro, North Carolina while the prison was burned and disassembled. At the request of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, a small team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was asked to locate the original prison barracks in hopes of placing the prison site on the National Register of Historic Places. Field excavations are time consuming and expensive, especially if a prime area has not already been chosen through previous archaeological surveying and testing. Utilizing geophysical methods such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) allows for larger areas to be surveyed without ruining the integrity of the site, thus aiding in a more precise and accurate area to excavate. The end result of GPR allows for a three dimensional analysis of the archaeological features, which can be placed within the landscape. The purpose of this Master’s thesis were: 1.) apply geophysical methods to aid in understanding of the prison landscape, with the potential for future archaeological excavations: 2.) improve the accuracy of the current Rowan GIS maps for this site through historic and modern geophysical research: and 3.) assess and compile previous and current archaeological and geographical findings; a cultural resources [or landscape] study. These objectives were successful, with regard to the GPR displaying cultural remains resembling the old cotton mill turned military barrack.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Geography, GIS, Ground Penetrating Radar, Remote Sensing
Salisbury Prison (N.C.) $x Remote sensing
Salisbury (N.C.) $x Historical geography
Ground penetrating radar
Geophysical surveys

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