MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- Before the proposed Mobile River Bridge can be built, ALDOT is having to look back in time and they are getting a little dirty to do it.
Archaeologists have been digging near Downtown Mobile and on the Eastern Shore, carefully cataloging what was here before.
“We literally are travelers of space and time and what we do when we excavate down into the earth is we are going further and further back into time,” said Anne Dorland, who is a field director on the project.
They are taking careful notes and making sure everything is documented.
“Before the Mobile River Bridge is constructed, we hope to recover as much history as possible through the organized destruction that archaeology is,” Dorland said.
The artifacts they are finding range from common to unique.
They are making sure to keep an open eye and mind as they reveal the ground beneath our feet.
“Something that we all get excited about are children’s items and children’s toys,” Dorland said. “It's really fun to think about kids in an archaeological setting.”
Once the artifacts are recovered, they are brought to a lab at South Alabama to be analyzed.
Bonnie Gums, an archaeologist on the project, said the goal is to link the finds back to people from the past.
“I'm not exactly sure what this pile of shoes means, but there are different kinds, there’s different shapes, there’s different sizes and of course they're all handmade, hand stitched,” she said.
Some of the artifacts go back hundreds of years to a time when Native Americans lived along Mobile Bay. So far, archaeologists have found pottery, a lead soldier and more.
“I think it's an opportunity for us as we look toward the future, celebrate our past,” said Dr. Phil Carr, one of the lead investigators on the project.
Excavation work began last year along the expected route of the new bridge and Bayway near Downtown Mobile and in Baldwin County.
Dr. Carr said the work is an important first step to creating a better way across the Bay.
“We are products of our past,” he said. “Our past gives us orientation to who we are today and there are things about the past that we still don't know, despite written records, despite maps.”
Back at the dig site, archaeologists are working to make sure history that is buried, can see light again.
“It's still a mystery and it's still exciting and we almost always are surprised by something that we find, it's always exciting,” Dorland said.
Some interesting finds include weaponry from the French and British Colonial Periods.
FOX10 News was told they are not expecting to find anything that could halt the project.