Researchers Say Slave Ship Found in Mud of Alabama Shore Remains Mostly Intact

Slave Ship
Alabama Historical Commission

The Clotilda is known as the last slave ship in America, and continued transporting slaves illegally long after Congress outlawed it.

A slave ship known as the Clotilda, which has been found in the mud off the Alabama coast, is said to be mostly intact, according to researchers, NBC News reported.

The wooden ship is believed to have sunk in 1860, and the upper part of the two-masted Clotilda is gone. The section below deck, where the captured slaves from Africa and stockpiles were held, is still largely in one piece after being buried for decades, NPR reported.

The ship, which was nearly 90 feet in length, is in a section of a river that hasn't been dredged, said maritime archaeologist James Delgado of the Florida-based SEARCH Inc, according to NPR.

Researchers also believe that other objects such as cargo could also be in the hull. They also speculate that human DNA could be found inside the ship’s remains.

"It's a stunning revelation," Delgado said in an interview to the Associated Press. "It's the most intact [slave ship] wreck ever discovered. It's because it's sitting in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta with fresh water and in mud that protected it that it's still there."

The Clotilda, known as the last slave ship in America, continued its trans-Atlantic trades illegally decades after Congress outlawed slave trades in 1808. The ship made an illegal trip from Mobile, Alabama, when it was financed by wealthy businessmen of prominent Mobile residents, the Associate Press reported.

The Clotilda's captain smuggled the slaves off the ship once it arrived in Alabama and it on fire to hide the evidence of the trip, however, most of the vessel didn't catch fire and remained in the river, the Associated Press reported.

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