Heritage Library works to restore Hilton Head Island cemetery

Heritage Library works to restore Hilton Head Island cemetery

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - A team of archaeologists is working to restore a historic Hilton Head cemetery to show what the area was like during the Revolutionary War.

"This is the oldest site tying to the continuous use of the island and it was the towns center during the Revolutionary War," said Richard Thomas, a board member of the Heritage Library.

The Zion Cemetery was built in 1788 but remains a preservation of history that the Hilton Head Heritage library is in the works of restoring years before the Revolutionary War's 250th anniversary.

"I think the preservation of it as a historical park is a really good testament to its importance," Thomas said.

Not only is a restoration project in progress, but restoration with a piece of history like this comes historic findings that have been buried for years. Archeologists have also found a few headstones underground using equipment such as ground penetrating radar.

"We came down here two years ago and started doing some research and then again last spring and both of those visits were all about using geophysical techniques," said Matt Sanger, an archaeologist.

So far, dig teams have found 28 unmarked graves. Several marked graves have been identified, belonging to patriots such as Charles Devant.

"The interesting thing for me is that it shows that these techniques are capable of finding these stones that have fallen and most likely there are thousands more of these stones in this cemetery area that have fallen in the last 40, 50, 60 years," Sanger said.

Officials with the Heritage Library say that they expect the project to be finalized by 2026, just in time for the Revolutionary War anniversary.

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