Twenty-first century technologies are being relied upon to help explain, and even physically buttress, Revolutionary War tactics at Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina.
Drawing the attention is a 125-foot-long tunnel the Colonials dug to reach a spot below the British-held Star Fort during the 1781 battle that is commemorated at the historic site. The intent was to ignite a nest of explosives beneath the fort, a strategy that arose 80-some years later during the Civil War battle at Petersburg, Virginia.
The Colonials never completed the tunnel; instead they resorted to storming the fort held by British loyalists.
Working to buttress the brick-lined tunnel today is a partnership between the National Park Service, the University of South Florida-Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies and South Carolina ETV. Work overseen by the partnership will is aimed at stabilizing, protecting and preserving the Kosciuszko tunnel, the only existing military tunnel during the American Revolution.
A team from the University of South Florida, in collaboration with the Park Service and the Southeast Archeological Center, is using 3D laser scanning and imaging along with geophysical remote sensing tools to assist with conservation, management, and public interpretive development of unique American Revolutionary period site features. The researchers will use 3D laser scanners to create the most accurate model of the Star Fort and the 3-to-4-foot tall tunnel beneath, creating new state-of-the-art public interpretation and digital record, including a 3D print model of the important site and its features.
Using newly available technologies, USF will record the tunnel and earthen star-shaped fortification, providing valuable information for long-term conservation and future interpretation of this important historical site.
South Carolina ETV will be working collaboratively with USF-AIST to produce a documentary highlighting both the technology and the story of the Kosciusko tunnel, Ninety Six National Historic Site, and a short documentation video of the tunnel laser mapping process.
Ninety Six National Historic Site is home to battlefields from the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and much more. The park is located two miles south of the town of Ninety Six on Highway 248.