I-10 Mobile River Bridge Archaeology Project

One of the Center’s major projects is the I-10 Mobile River Bridge (MRB) Archaeology Project. This project investigates and promotes the archaeology and history of the I-10 Bridge area. The proposed I-10 Mobile Bridge and Byway project will impact 15 historically significant archaeological sites. For more information about the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Byway, visit the project website.

These 15 sites span the entire history of Mobile Bay. There are Native American sites from thousands of years ago, as well as French and Spanish colonial occupations. Most of the project area has been continuously occupied from the colonial era until the present. Many of the sites are part of the Down the Bay neighborhood and can tell us about turn of the century life in Mobile.

Emily Warner, right, with the USA Center for Archaeological Studies, and Thomas Grace, with Wiregrass Archaeological Consulting, bisect a feature in the soil at a site that is along the route for a proposed Mobile Bay bridge.
Erin Lister, a South anthropology student, transfers soil excavated from a colonial feature into a water screen for processing.
Alisha Palmer, a senior majoring in anthropology, and Dr. Phil Carr, professor of anthropology and the Chief Calvin McGhee Endowed Professor of Native American Studies, catalog artifacts brought in from the Mobile Bay bridge site in a lab at the USA Center for Archaeology Studies.

Project Partners

The MRB Archaeology project is interdisciplinary and includes artists, educators, geographers, geologists, historians, oral historians, and others. Archaeologists include staff from the Center for Archaeological Studies, Wiregrass Archaeological Consulting, and Cedars Consulting.  Archaeologists work to excavate sites in the field and analyze artifacts in the lab. Historical researchers provide insights into past lifeways through maps, city directories, census data, and other documents. Oral historians from the Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library are conducting interviews with community members from Down the Bay to understand the recent history of the neighborhood.

The bridge project is conducted by the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard. The project also involves input from Native American Tribes, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Alabama Historical Commission, and local governments and historical organizations.

Learn about Mobile Bay History

Project work will be shared through educational resources, exhibits, lectures, and other events. Follow the blog and the CAS Facebook and CAS Instagram accounts for updates, highlights, and ways to get involved! We also offer presentations on the topics below and would be happy to present to community groups or at events. To request a speaker, or for more information, email the project’s Public Outreach Coordinator Rachel Hines at rhines@southalabama.edu.

Uncovering Mobile’s History: The I-10 Mobile River Bridge Archaeology Project

Weathering the Storm: The Archaeology of Mobile Bay Hurricanes

Digging Down the Bay: Archaeological Excavations on Virginia Street

Weathering the Storm: The Archaeology of Hurricanes Virtual Exhibit

Hurricanes have been part of life on the Gulf Coast for thousands of years. Through archaeology, we can better imagine how past populations experienced hurricanes. This online exhibit examines archaeological evidence of past storms from the I-10 MRB Archaeology Project. It also includes contributions from meteorologist Alan Sealls and Dr. Sytske Kimball of the South Alabama Mesonet.