Old Mobile (1MB94) Site Overview, Mobile County, Alabama.


This section provides an overview of archaeological research on the site of Old Mobile (1MB94), French colonial capital of La Louisiane from 1702 to 1711. While the general location of Twenty-seven Mile Bluff on the Mobile River, in modern-day southwestern Alabama, has always been known as the original French colonial townsite, archaeological research only began there in earnest in 1989 when James C. "Buddy" Parnell, an employee of Courtaulds Fibers Inc. recognized several well-preserved earthen floors of colonial structures in the woods behind the Courtaulds plant. Parnell alerted the local historic preservation community, and soon afterwards Greg Waselkov with the University of South Alabama began a longterm research project focused on the site. From April 1989 until today (2013), archaeological investigations have continued on the site. During the first four years, an intensive shovel-testing survey (15,025 shovel tests dug at 4-meter intervals) determined the extent of the 70-acre site and established the locations of at least 55 colonial buildings based on clusters of structural remains. Ten of these building sites have been extensively excavated, as described in related project folders. This research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service's NCPTT program, the State of Alabama, the Alabama Historical Commission's Preservation Grants program, and by the University of South Alabama, the Friends of Old Mobile, and numerous private foundations and individual donors. The Archaeological Conservancy holds two preservation easements over portions of the Old Mobile site -- one donated by DuPont de Nemours on the middle of the townsite, and another donated by Mobile County (which now owns the original Courtaulds portion) on the northern section of the townsite. The archaeological townsite was declared eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 2001.

Cite this Record

Old Mobile (1MB94) Site Overview, Mobile County, Alabama.. ( tDAR id: 380930) ; doi:10.6067/XCV89888FR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

URL: http://www.usouthal.edu/archaeology/old-mobile.html

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1702 to 1711

Spatial Coverage

min long: -88.026; min lat: 30.942 ; max long: -87.971; max lat: 30.983 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies

Contributor(s): Bonnie L. Gums; George W. Shorter, Jr.; Diane Silvia

Project Director(s): Gregory Waselkov

Record Identifiers

2004.077(s): Accession Number

Source Collections

University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies Old Mobile Collection 2004.077

University of South Alabama Archaeology Museum Old Mobile Collection 2004.077

Related Comparative Collections

University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies Port Dauphin Village Collection 1997.005

Resources Inside this Project (Viewing 1-7 of 7)


  1. Application of Complementary Geophysical Survey Techniques in the Search for Fort Louis at Old Mobile: A Comparative Case Study (2005)
  2. Archaeology at the French Colonial Site of Old Mobile (Phase 1: 1989-1991) (1991)
  3. Continuity and Change in Apalachee Pottery Manufacture (2001)
  4. Old Mobile Archaeology (1999)
  5. The Old Mobile Project Newsletter (1989)
  6. A Search for Fort Louis de la Mobile with Archaeological Geophysics (2005)


  1. Site Overview Photos from Old Mobile (1MB94), Mobile County, Alabama. (1994)