Archaeologists in Charleston, South Carolina, believe they have found the wooden remnants of an 18th century wharf where an estimated 100,000 enslaved Africans arrived in America during the peak of the international slave trade.
Traces of Gadsden’s Wharf were located during an exploratory dig this fall at the waterfront site of the city’s planned $75 million International African American Museum, said Eric Poplin, senior archaeologist at Brockington and Associates.
City and cultural leaders said the discovery will allow an important piece of history to be preserved. Some 100,000 West African slaves were taken to the wharf, located on the Cooper River near Charleston Harbor, between 1783 and 1808.
“It is the place of arrival for a huge percentage of the early ancestors of people of African descent who live in America,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.
The city commissioned the dig ahead of the new museum’s construction, which is expected to begin in late 2016, Riley said.
Using maps, plats, historic records of timber orders and ground-penetrating radar, archaeologists uncovered the pine timbers of wooden cribs that held oyster shells and other fill used to build the wharf, Poplin said.
They also found timbers and the brick floor from a ricestorehouse that was used as a barracks to house African captivesbefore they were sold.
Riley said the museum wants to place above-ground markers of the wharf to tell its story to visitors, and a future excavation could remove some of the actual remnants for exhibit.
Historians say an estimated 40 percent of all enslaved Africans brought to North America came through Charleston, more than any other port.
The museum will help preserve a “sacred space,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is slated to open in Washington in 2016.
“Gadsden’s Wharf is an Ellis Island for African Americans,” Bunch said on Tuesday. “It becomes one of the few places where African Americans can really go to pay homage to those ancestors.”
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Mohammad Zargham)
Watch a report on the discovery, as aired on WCBD-TV on Tuesday, below.
Jim Jordan’s attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman at impeachment hearing badly backfire
Republicans tried to raise doubts about Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s credibility and loyalty during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing. Their attacks appeared to backfire.
Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and an Iraq war veteran who earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in combat, faced questions from the House Intelligence Committee in full uniform.
This piece first appeared at Salon.com.Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was transferred to the Intelligence Committee specifically for the impeachment hearings, attempted to discredit the witness during his questioning.
WATCH: Dejected Devin Nunes slumps back in his chair after he fails to yield his time to Elise Stefanik
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee was visibly frustrated after once again getting shut down while attempting a parliamentary maneuver.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has been attempting to ignore the rules governing the impeachment inquiry so that he can yield Republicans' time to fellow members of Congress, instead of just the professional GOP counsel.
Nunes has attempted to yield time to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who has been raising re-election funds off of her outbursts in the hearings.
Once again, Nunes attempted to yield his time to a fellow Republican and once again Nunes was told that is against the rules.
Nunes complains about his own witness’ hearings going ‘longer’ because it’s ‘getting into prime time’
At Tuesday's hearing, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Community, flew into a rage over committee rules, complaining that the hearing with witnesses he himself had called was "getting into prime time."
"For everyone watching, this is another example of how out of control this process has become, where the Democrats just magically give themselves additional minutes, which they're right, in the special rule they wrote they can do, but you would at least think they would have the decency to tell us you have 15 minutes more," whined Nunes. "I would say you can go four hours, five hours. We'll give you all you want. You can keep digging. Deeper the hole you dig, the more viewers turn off."