State Underwater Archaeologist: Alabama

The beautiful state of Alabama has 60 miles of shoreline along the Gulf Coast, 600 miles of tidal bay and bayou shoreline, over 3500 miles of lake shoreline, and over 132,000 miles of rivers and streams, all of which contribute to the maritime heritage of the state. Most of these waters have not yet been inventoried for submerged archaeological sites and shipwrecks.

Changes in weather patterns coupled with the widely publicized identification of the wreck of the Clotilda have significantly amplified the demand from the public in terms of both investigating new discoveries and responding with expertise to local, national, and international interest, in Alabama’s underwater archaeological sites.

The Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) is actively working on the development of a maritime archaeology program that will concentrate on the remarkable archaeological resources in Alabama’s waterways. The maritime program will be an extension of our current archaeological program that preserves, protects, and interprets archaeology on land. Surrounding states have already developed robust maritime archaeological programs led by a professional maritime state archaeologist and Alabama has fallen behind in that regard.

State legislation tasks the AHC with the responsibility of protecting, preserving, and educating the public about all archaeological sites and shipwrecks in Alabama waters. Currently, the AHC does not have a professional maritime archaeologist on staff, or the vehicles and equipment required for a successful maritime program. Both are needed to respond quickly to both the increasing demand for reviews of maritime archaeological reports and to properly investigate the growing number of reported discoveries of underwater cultural resources by the citizens of Alabama.

The AHC continues to further educate the public about historic sites in Alabama from both land and water and the AHC will push for this effort in the development of maritime archaeology for the state of Alabama.

Lisa D. Jones

Executive Director

State Historic Preservation Office

The State of Alabama encourage anyone who is interested in applying to get on the state register for a senior archaeologist.

Alabama Maritime Heritage program:

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