Officials at Gettysburg National Military Park briefly closed off roads near a much-visited area of the battlefield Wednesday after someone found an unexploded artillery shell.
Authorities documented the unexploded ordinance in the vicinity of Little Round Top, an area of the Pennsylvania battlefield that saw heavy fighting on the second day of the three-day Civil War battle. That portion of the battlefield is currently undergoing a massive rehabilitation project that seeks to address “overwhelmed” parking areas, erosion and accessibility issues and other potential safety hazards, the National Park Service reported.
Upon finding the shell, park officials contacted the 55th Ordnance Disposal Company EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team from the US Army base of Fort Belvoir VA. EOD officials “safely” removed the shell and destroyed it off-site, but not before cleaning it so that park officials could document the stunning find. (RELATED: Old Man Shows Up To French Hospital With WWI Artillery Shell Up His Butt, Bomb Squad Responds)
Despite the time elapsed since the 1863 battle, park officials are still finding remnants of the past, though relic hunting is strictly forbidden in the national park – sometimes, though, they find things much older.
In 1996, heavy erosion revealed a partially buried skeleton near the Railroad Cut, a scene of ferocious fighting on the first day of the battle. However, an analysis determined that the remains found were those of a Native American dating back to 1269-1289 AD.
“This result is not what we expected but we stand by our commitment to be respectful of these remains, fulfill our responsibilities, and find the best course of action for their final resting place.” Gettysburg National Military Superintendent Ed Clark said at the time, according to the National Park Service.
Little Round Top is currently closed to all visitation as the rehabilitation project continues.
“The scope of the project will reestablish, preserve, and protect the features that make up this segment of the battlefield landscape. This project will also enhance the visitor experience with improved interpretive signage, new accessible trail alignments, and gathering areas. These improvements will allow visitors to better immerse themselves into the historic landscape that is essential to understanding the three-day Battle of Gettysburg,” the National Park Service said.