Demolition Offers Glimpse Into Mobile's Past

Dec 17, 2018

USA Archaeology Museum, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

Demolition work near a south Alabama jail is giving archaeologists an opportunity to learn more about Mobile's past. reports the work near the Mobile County Metro Jail is being done in preparation for a proposed Interstate 10 bridge, Archaeologists want to learn more about what's hiding just below the surface at the site.

The location includes a cluster of nine buildings, most of which appear to have been bail bond offices.

A key goal is to dig in and find traces of the homes believed to have been in the area two centuries ago.

University of South Alabama Archaeologist Emily Warner says she and other researchers are hoping to learn about what life in Mobile was like during the early 1800s.

Relics uncovered during the demolition work might show "what was important to them, what they like to eat" and other aspects of their lives.

A good discovery might be a household refuse pit, for instance, containing worn-out tools and broken household items.

"The most interesting stuff for us to find is Native American pottery," says Warner. That would indicate interaction between the native population and newcomers of European descent.

Artifacts might also show trade and other interactions between French, British and Spanish factions.

Warner says some of the artifacts uncovered may eventually be displayed at the Archaeology Museum on the University of South Alabama campus in west Mobile.

In the future, the lots recently occupied by bail bond services and other businesses will be taken up by pilings and columns supporting the sweep of the planned interstate bridge as it rises from an on-ramp at Virginia Street toward an apex more than 200 feet above the Mobile River.