Leather boots, the hilts of swords — even a stray earring — were among the nearly 30,000 artifacts recovered this fall from the wreckage of the sunken ironclad Confederate gunship CSS Georgia.

More than half the haul was of a more mundane nature: nuts, bolts, washers, and other redundant or damaged material that did not shed any new light on the lives of sailors serving aboard the vessel.

Project manager Jim Jobling says the 16,697 pieces weighing 135 tons have been placed in 10 storage containers and returned to the bottom of the Savannah River, where they had previously sat since its own crew deliberately sank the ship 151 years ago.

Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist Julie Morgan says storing the pieces in water will help preserve them.