For Immediate Release
February 28, 2018

Media Contacts: Alabama Historical Commission Jacqulyn Kirkland, (334) 230-2645 or
National Museum of African American History & Culture La Fleur Paysour, (202) 294-0666


The Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) is working with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, (NMAAHC) concerning the deployment of an archaeological investigation of shipwreck remains discovered in January 2018 in Baldwin County, Alabama.

In a collaboration with the Washington-DC based Slave Wrecks Project, (SWP) one goal of the study is to determine if the vessel is, in fact, the Clotilda, the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans to the United States.

Testing of the wreck will provide baseline information about the ship’s architectural and construction features, using research methods that are minimally invasive but have the likelihood of generating conclusive information. The results will help guide the AHC’s approach to future resource management.

As the Alabama Historical Commission, it is our agency’s duty to uphold the state law that manages and protects shipwrecks and archaeological sites in Alabama waters.

“The residents of Africatown, the City of Mobile, and the AHC’s public and private partners have proven to be invaluable during the planning of this investigation,” said Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the AHC. “We look forward to being on site and beginning this process.”

“The Slave Wrecks Project partners – including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Park Service, the George Washington University and Diving with a Purpose – are pleased to support the state of Alabama and the Africatown Community in this important work of heritage protection and historical recovery,” said Paul Gardullo, curator, NMAAHC, and co-director of the Slave Wrecks Project.

The AHC, SWP and NPS have created two interwoven working groups that will each focus on a core area: archaeological operations and community engagement.

The archaeological process will occur in phases with Phase I beginning March 2, 2018. Work is scheduled to be completed March 5, 2018. Community engagement will begin as early as March 1, 2018 and conclude March 7 with a large community meeting at 5:30 pm at the Hope Community Center. The event is organized by Joe Womack and the Mobile County Training School Alumni Association.

Weekly updates will be available on these websites:
  • Alabama Historical Commission -
  • Slave Wrecks Project -   
About the Alabama Historical Commission
Located in historic downtown Montgomery at 468 S. Perry Street, the Alabama Historical Commission is the state historic preservation agency for Alabama. The agency was created by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama’s historic places. AHC works to accomplish its mission through two fields of endeavor: Preservation and promotion of state-owned historic sites as public attractions; and, statewide programs to assist people, groups, towns, and cities with local preservation activities. For a complete list of programs and properties owned and operated by the AHC, hours of operation,and admission fees please visit

About the Slave Wrecks Project
The Slave Wrecks Project (SWP) is an international network of institutions and individuals that investigates the global history and enduring legacies of the transatlantic and domestic slave trades. SWP’s unique approach combines collaborative maritime exploration and investigation with training, heritage protection, exhibits and educational opportunities to build and share new knowledge about the past and its enduring legacies. In a dynamic approach to global public history, SWP works on archaeological sites, under the water and on land, in museums and in archives as well as in classrooms, communities, public forums and online. SWP is hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Museum works closely with global partners including the George Washington University, the US National Park Service and Diving with a Purpose (DWP) to build a global community of local and regional research collaborators that spans the world. SWP is now active in locations ranging from Mozambique, South Africa and Senegal to Cuba, St. Croix and Brazil.


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