MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama Historical Commission and Resolve Marine began their ten-day exploration and a site exploration of the Clotilda.
Researchers held a community meeting about the project Monday evening.
Researchers have returned to The Port City, to assess the remains of the last slave ship
to bring enslaved Africans to the United States over 160 years ago; The Clotilda.
The Alabama Historical Commission has partnered with Resolve Marine-, who will spend the next ten days
evaluating the wrecked ship.
The Clotilda has been submerged underwater in the Mobile River since the 1800s.
According to Maritime Archaeologist James Delgado, divers and state-of-the-art equipment will be used to inspect the ship, as researchers aim to protect whatever can be salvaged.
“It is always humbling to work on a project like this that has so much meaning for so many people but in particular for your community given both descendants and those who reside in a community that is so powerfully linked to this ship, and its stories,” said Delgado. “Stories that I would hope the archeologist will add to linked to through the actual physical record.”
According to Resolve Marine Project Manager Aaron Jozsef, researchers let the community know that this evaluation may reveal that it is not best to try and remove the Clotilda.
Jozsef says at this time, the condition of the ship is still unknown.
“We don’t know the condition because it’s largely condensed under mud,” said The primary purpose of the assessment is to protect the resources, the story of the Clotilda, the representation that it is to the public that’s is in this room,” said Jozsef. “And as somewhat of an officiate when it comes to salvage and removal, the root of the resources loses a little bit of its value if the prospect is to bring it up in 100 pieces, or even 150 pieces.”
Researchers say they will come back to the community with an update after the 10-day evaluation is complete.