Archaeology at Mobile's Exploreum: Discovering the Buried Past

Summary

The University of South Alabama's Center for Archaeological Studies conducted archaeological excavations at the proposed site of the Gulf Coast Exploreum and Science Center in downtown Mobile, Alabama. Field work was directed by Bonnie Gums and George Shorter in the two areas explored in depth. Among the project finds was an earthfast Spanish-colonial building's foundations and associated discarded possessions of the Espejo family, the first archaeological glimpse of that aspects of Mobile's early 19th-century past. An impressive bottle midden that formed outside a tavern offers a telling commentary on life along the American-period Mobile riverfront in the 1820s. This descriptive report, entirely the result of time and funding contributed by the University of South Alabama's Center for Archaeological Studies, provides a solid basis for additional research in the future. For instance, the bone-rich middens can provide new information on the diet of Spanish colonists, especially on the relative roles of domesticated and wild meat sources. If, as we suspect, some of the Colono pottery was made by enslaved African-Americans, then we have a new analytical tool available for the study of slave economic life in early historic Mobile. And the presence of French, Choctaw, and Creek pottery types in the Spanish colonial artifact assemblage poses many intriguing questions about European mercantilism and European-Indian trade. Far from providing the final word on the Exploreum site, this report should be considered a basis for inquiry on the origins of Mobile, Alabama, in the years to come.

Cite this Record

Archaeology at Mobile's Exploreum: Discovering the Buried Past, 1st edition. Bonnie L. Gums, George W. Shorter, Jr.. Archaeological Monograph ,3. Mobile, Alabama: University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies. 1998 ( tDAR id: 380933) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8Z60NQ0

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Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1780 to 1830

Spatial Coverage

min long: -88.062; min lat: 30.666 ; max long: -88.021; max lat: 30.704 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Gregory Waselkov; Bonnie L. Gums; George W. Shorter, Jr.

Record Identifiers

1996.003(s): Accession Number

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
exploreum-monograph-as-pdf.pdf 52.79mb Jan 15, 2013 12:54:51 PM Public