Archaeologist: Bodies may be earliest remains found in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Friday proved to be another fascinating day of discovery at the Gaillard Auditorium construction site.

Archaeologists found coins they believe date back to the late 1600s or early 1700s.

So far, archaeologists have unearthed 37 graves that may date back to the colonial days of the city. Eric Poplin, the lead archaeologist, said Friday the coins were found near the remains of an adult and a child.

"It's very interesting," said Poplin. "If the date of the burials is what we think they are -- the early 18th century -- it would be the earliest group of people that anyone's had the opportunity to look at here in Charleston."

One of the coins was found near a head and the other was found near where an eye socket, Poplin said. Poplin said there should be four coins total, but they have not found the other two yet.

He said it was common practice in the 18th century to bury the dead with coins.

"The coins themselves, we can't tell what they are. They're too corroded at this point, but later on we'll do some analysis, clean them up and we might be able to get some information off them," Poplin said.

Once the coins are cleaned, they will eventually be reburied with the individual, Poplin added. For now, they are being held in a secured location.

Poplin said the remains will not end up in a museum, but will instead be reburied at another gravesite.

Recently, crews found a cannonball they believe dates back to the Revolutionary War. It's believed to be British.

The excavations started almost three weeks ago when crews digging below what used to be the auditorium's driveway found a human skull and bones.