Oafish pillager brings out the dead

Most people who know the whereabouts of their own behinds are aware that some acts are to be avoided under almost any circumstances, and that such acts include desecrating graves, damaging public property, and collecting artifacts in a national park.

Coy Matthew Hamilton managed to do all three at the same time when he took it upon himself to dig up the probable remains of a Confederate soldier at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

Hamilton admitted to investigators that he found the remains while canoeing with a friend in February 2011.

Described in case documents as an “avid, self-taught amateur archaeologist who routinely spends his free time hunting for artifacts,” Hamilton set out in the canoe after recent heavy rains, as he “knew from experience that this could reveal archaeological artifacts.”

On the afternoon of Feb. 27, Hamilton and a companion spotted a bone sticking out of an embankment. “Hamilton excavated two femur bones and pieces of a pelvis,” according to a report.

His companion urged him to stop, “but Hamilton’s enthusiasm was too strong.

Calling this guy “an avid, self-taught amateur archaeologist” is like calling somebody who swipes a few hundred bucks from a cash register “an avid, self-taught amateur numismatist.”

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5 Comments

Filed under Civil War, Museums and Historic Sites

5 responses to “Oafish pillager brings out the dead

  1. “avid, self-taught amateur”… Probably just trying to avoid the “history buff” moniker:

    http://posterityproject.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-history-buff.html

  2. Calling this guy “an avid, self-taught amateur archaeologist” is like calling somebody who swipes a few hundred bucks from a cash register “an avid, self-taught amateur numismatist.”

    Yep. I suspect he only avoided jail time by trying to return the material, after (I’m guessing) one of his buddies clued him in on the world of trouble he was bringing down on himself.

    • Michael Lynch

      That’s what puzzled me–why he would show the bones to the NPS after digging them up. If he’d just told somebody at the visitor center where they were without disturbing them, he could’ve gotten his name in the paper. (In a good way, I mean.)

  3. Pingback: Canister! « Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

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