Exploreum Site (1MB189), Mobile County, Alabama.


In 1996 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. Bonnie Gums and George Shorter directed field work in two areas explored in depth. Among several important finds was the remains of an earthfast Spanish-colonial building's foundations and associated discarded possessions of the Espejo family, our 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 Mobile's American-period riverfront in the 1820s. The project report, entirely the result of time and funding contributed by the University of South Alabama's Center for Archaeological Studies, provides a 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 in the years to come.

Cite this Record

Exploreum Site (1MB189), Mobile County, Alabama.. ( tDAR id: 380932) ; doi:10.6067/XCV81N82JX

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

URL: http://www.usouthal.edu/archaeology/exploreum.html

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1780 to 1830

Spatial Coverage

min long: -88.066; min lat: 30.668 ; max long: -88.021; max lat: 30.711 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

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

Field Director(s): Bonnie L. Gums; George W. Shorter, Jr.

Project Director(s): Gregory Waselkov

Record Identifiers

1996.003(s): Accession Number

Source Collections

University of South Alabama Archaeology Museum Exploreum Collection 2004.077

University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies Exploreum Collection 2004.077

Resources Inside this Project (Viewing 1-2 of 2)


  1. Archaeology at Mobile's Exploreum: Discovering the Buried Past (1998)


  1. Excavation Photos from the Exploreum Site (1MB189), Mobile County, Alabama. (1996)