Cemetery found in Beaufort lot thought to be vacant

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - Workers on the South Carolina coast clearing what they thought was an overgrown vacant lot made a surprising discovery, a section of a cemetery dating to the 19th Century.

The Beaufort Gazette reports the lot with gravestones was behind the existing Mercy Cemetery in Beaufort but officials didn't know the burial ground extended into that area.

The area was cleared earlier this month as the city cleaned empty lots.

The cemetery is in an area originally settled by freed slaves during the Civil War. A number of Union veterans are buried there.

Gravestones in the newly uncovered section date to the 1890s. The city will now maintain the area.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.