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Shells preserved in wall where they hit Sumter

Saturday - 12/22/2012, 11:32am  ET

In this Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Liisa Nasanen, a conservator from Clemson University's Restoration Institute, works on conserving a shell lodged in the wall of a fort at Fort Sumter National Monument, S.C. The shells line a wall of the fort where the Civil War began and are being conserved in place because removing them would damage both the shells and the masonry around them. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

Associated Press

FORT SUMTER NATIONAL MONUMENT, S.C. (AP) -- Historians say Charleston and Fort Sumter have been bombarded more than any other place in the Western Hemisphere. And it's evident because several shells from Union guns are still lodged in the walls of the fort where the Civil War began.

This month, the Clemson University Restoration Institute worked to conserve the shells where they are. That's because removing them would damage both the shells and the fragile masonry around them.

Scientists applied deionized water to help to remove salt that has gotten into the iron shells. Then they applied a substance to consolidate the shells so no more metal flakes off.

Rick Dorrance of the Fort Sumter National Monument says the work is being done under a $900,000 agreement between the National Park Service and Clemson.

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