A possible Civil War-era landmine was discovered while NJ workers were examining the ground

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HOWELL — Daren DePonte was sifting through topsoil with other workers at a Randolph Road recycling site on Tuesday morning when he discovered something that caught everyone’s attention.

“It looked like a funny piece of concrete,” DePonte said.

What the screen had apparently revealed was a Civil War-era landmine.

DePonte worked at Material Transport Group, a Class B recycling facility, a site where he also runs an excavation and trucking business.

He researched his find online, then called Civil War enthusiasts he knows, he said.

They unofficially confirmed his research and he called the police.

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Detective Sergeant Howell. Peter Kuppler said it looked like a Civil War landmine, but no expert has authenticated it.

The origin of the soil is unknown, said DePonte, who wondered if the landmine may have once been someone’s memory.

Daren DePonte holds a possible Civil War-era landmine found while workers were sifting through topsoil at a Howell recycling plant on Tuesday morning.

The Howell police informed the New Jersey State Police bomb disposal unit.

At the scene, the demining unit destroyed the potentially live ordnance that could have been around 160 years old.

“They fired a charge at it to clear it,” DePonte said. “It wasn’t really live.”

Kuppler said the device, which was the size and shape of a coconut with one end tapering outward, was destroyed without incident.

State police only confirmed they were at the scene.

Members of the New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit arrive at the Randolph Road recycling site where the landmine was discovered.

Ken Serrano covers crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues. Contact him at [email protected]

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