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Dog River Plantation (1MB161), Mobile County, Alabama.

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Archaeology at the Dog River site has uncovered a series of plantations dating from the mid-1720s to 1848. Originally the home of the Charles Rochon family, the site was successively occupied by Charles' son Pierre and his family and by families related to the Rochons by marriage -- the Goudeaus and Demouys -- then finally by the Montgomery and Hollinger families during the American period, 1830-1848. HIstorical and archaeolgical evidence also indicates substantial occupations by the Chato Indians and enslaved African Americans in the excavated area.

In 1988 the Alabama Department of Transportation proposed replacement of the bridge over Dog River at its confluence with Mobile Bay. It was soon discovered that the south bank at the mouth of Dog River was a historically and archaeologically important site.

Large portions of the Dog River site (1MB161) were excavated by archaeologists from the University of South Alabama, from 1994 to 1996, as the new bridge was completed. Historical research unveiled a long sequence of human occupation on Dog River.

Archaeological investigations occurred in six large contiguous areas totaling 1,161 square meters. Over 750 subsurface features were recorded and excavated, including the remains of several structures, a small hide tanning operation, numerous palisade and picket fenced enclosures, smudge pits, and hundreds of other pits and postholes. Analysis of the excavated remains, including an astounding 190,650+ artifacts, revealed an intensive plantation occupation on the bluff overlooking Dog River, an ancient buried bayou (containing some exceptionally well-preserved organic artifacts) south of the bluff, and an area beyond the bayou occupied at first by Chato Indians and later by plantation slaves. Excavations cut across the heart of the plantation, providing us with an unparalleled view of the diverse activities that occurred there at a level of detail never achieved previously at Mobile-area historic sites.

Early in this project, we realized that one of our principal goals should be to place the Dog River site and its features and artifacts in their broad archaeological and historical contexts. Although the site is undeniably interesting even when considered in isolation, its greater significance becomes apparent when one comprehends the wider colonial and antebellum worlds of which it was but a small part.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Dog River Plantation (1MB161), Mobile County, Alabama.. ( tDAR id: 380940) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8QN686B



Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1725 to 1848

Spatial Coverage

min long: -88.099; min lat: 30.556 ; max long: -88.077; max lat: 30.572 ;

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

2007.001(s): Accession Number

1997.001(s): Accession Number

Source Collections

University of South Alabama Archaeology Museum Collection 2007.001
University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies Dog River Site Collection 2007.001
University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies Dog River Site Collection 1997.001
University of South Alabama Archaeology Museum Collection 1997.001

Resources Inside this Project (Viewing 1-5 of 5)


  1. Phase II Archaeological Testing at 1MB161, the Dog River Site, for a Proposed Fish Camp on Dog River, Mobile County, Alabama. (2007)
  2. Plantation Archaeology at Riviere Aux Chiens, ca 1725-1848 (2000)


  1. Excavation Photos from the Dog River Plantation Site (1MB161), Mobile County, Alabama. (1994)


  1. Field Specimen Catalog for the Dog River Plantation (1MB161), Mobile County, Alabama (2000)
  2. Glass Beads from the Dog River Plantation (1MB161), Mobile County, Alabama. (2000)
Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America