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Researcher to unveil findings about this Hilton Head cemetery Friday

The Baynard Mausoleum - the oldest intact structure on Hilton Head Island - is a 160-year-old stone building in the Zion Chapel of Ease cemetery at Mathews Drive and William Hilton Parkway.
The Baynard Mausoleum - the oldest intact structure on Hilton Head Island - is a 160-year-old stone building in the Zion Chapel of Ease cemetery at Mathews Drive and William Hilton Parkway. Staff photo

The Heritage Library on Hilton Head will be hosting a “living history” event at the Zion Cemetery and Baynard Mausoleum on Friday at 10 a.m., according to a release.

The event is free and open to the public, and parking is available at the site, located at the corner of U.S. 278 and Mathews Drive, the release said.

Matt Sanger, an assistant professor of anthropology at Binghamton University in New York, will be working on the grounds and unveiling the findings of past archeology work on the site.

The Heritage Library has tours of the historic property every Friday, said Linda Piekut, executive director of the library. During Friday’s tour, visitors can talk to Sanger and his team as they dig.

Piekut said Sanger used a ground-penetrating radar machine, which allows someone to see objects and disturbed earth underground, in discovering several grave stones lying flat, the base of a fence, a family plot and several unmarked graves at the site. She said researchers are trying to find the foundation of a wooden chapel that was part of St. Luke’s Parish between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

The Baynard Mausoleum is the oldest existing structure on the island, according to the release.

Sanger and a group of graduate students also are working on an archaeological dig at the Indian shell ring in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve until Aug. 4. Visitors are welcome to stop by the site, Sanger said Tuesday.

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