Historical Commission, UA Offer Artifact Day at Old Cahawba

  • September 20th, 2016

artifact-day-at-old-cahawba-flyerTUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama Historical Commission and The University of Alabama’s Office of Archaeological Research are partnering to host Artifact Day at Old Cahawba Saturday, Oct. 1.

The event provides the public the opportunity to work side by side with researchers to examine, analyze and preserve recently discovered artifacts of the historic town of Old Cahawba, which lies at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers.  From 1819 to 1826, the site, in present day Orrville, (near Selma) served as Alabama’s first capital.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participation is free to pre-registrants. General admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 18 (with parent). A bring-your-own bike tour is $10 per person.

Lunch will be provided for all pre-registered participants, but you are encouraged to bring snacks. Water will be available but you are advised to also bring your own.

To pre-register, please click here or phone 334-230-2690.

Working alongside archaeologists, participants will receive instructions on how to properly care for artifacts and the importance of proper identification and curation. There will also be a brief presentation on the effort underway at Old Cahawba.

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Samples of artifacts unearthed from the Old Cahawba site during Public Archaeology Days in July.

The Alabama Historical Commission and UA’s Office of Archaeological Research recently partnered to conduct a cultural and natural resources survey of Old Cahawba, which is owned and operated by the Commission. They used ground-penetrating radar and visual ground surveys, which involved UA archaeologists walking the overgrown city blocks, recording, mapping, and photographing all visual evidence of this once-flourishing town.

Researchers located the north wall of Alabama’s State House, detected unmarked burials within the cemeteries, and investigated the prehistoric moat and mound that Alabama’s first governor reused as the centerpiece of his town plan.  In July, with assistance from the public, the researchers exposed the north wall of Alabama’s first State House.

Now volunteers will have the opportunity to work side by side with archaeologists in the processing and analysis of the State House period artifacts discovered during the excavations.  These artifacts include ceramics, pipes, buttons, handmade bottles, and architectural pieces.  Participants will learn how these artifacts help archaeologists and historians to interpret a portion of Alabama’s early history.

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A blue decorative turren handle found in July during Public Archaeology Days at Old Cahawba.

The information gathered will be used by the Alabama Historical Commission to interpret and manage this important historic site. The remnants of the State House, the homes and stores, and the cemeteries tell an intriguing story of Alabama’s early heritage.

Directions: From downtown Selma, take Highway 22 (Dallas Avenue) west 8.6 miles. Cross over the Cahaba River and turn left onto County Road 9 and follow this 3.3 miles until it dead ends. Turn left onto County Road 2 and follow this 1.5 miles until you see the Welcome Center on the right. Welcome Center Address: 9518 Cahaba Road, Orrville, AL 36767.

Contacts: Jacqulyn Kirkland, marketing & public relations manager, Alabama Historical Commission, 334-230-2690, Jacqulyn.kirkland@ahc.alabama.gov; Chris Bryant, UA media relations, cbryant@ur.ua.edu

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.