Archaeologists find unexploded artillery shell under Gettysburg battlefield

Archaeologists working on a historic Gettysburg battlefield recently made an explosive discovery: a live 160-year-old artillery shell that had to be detonated by a specially trained US defense team.

The shell was found on 8 February at Small round top (opens in a new tab), a hill that gave Union forces a strategic position during the Civil War. On July 2, 1863, the second day of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, the North and South fought for 90 minutes to control Little Round Top, leaving thousands of soldiers dead. However, the rocky ground was not an ideal platform for an artillery offensive, as Confederate General Robert E. Lee suggested in his 1864 report (opens in a new tab) on the Gettysburg Campaign. Lee reported that Confederate General Longstreet was being delayed by Union forces firing from Little Round Top, but Longstreet decided to go around them instead of trying to take the hill.

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