The archaeology program at AUM and the Alabama Historical Commission continue the excavation of the archaeological remains of a mid-18th century French farmhouse at Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson Historic Park near Wetumpka, Alabama. This building was located about 120 meters southwest of the second Fort Toulouse (A.D. 1749-1763).
During the summer of 2001, AUM student and volunteers from the greater Montgomery area spent 10 weeks unearthing some of the foundation trenches of an unusually large wooden frame structure measuring 32 feet on the one completely revealed side. Associated ceramic shreds, bottle glass, and iron nails and hardware indicate a mid-18th century date for the structure.
Excavations have not uncovered enough of the structure to determine features such as partitions, doors, or chimneys, but a possible gallery or porch is located on the north side of the house. The house was enclosed by a series of fences, some of which extent over 120 feet.
Available historic records suggest that about half of the French Colonial Marine garrison were married and lived outside of the fort in small farmsteads. Actual military duty demanded relatively little of a marine's time. Lowly paid and poorly provisioned, garrison members produced most of their food through cultivation of small fields and raising of livestock. Many traded with the nearby Indian community of Pakana for foodstuffs, ceramic vessels, and deerskins.
The reconstruction of Fort Toulouse was Alabama's official Bicentennial Project. Archaeological excavations of the fort and enclosed buildings began in 1972 and continued until 1984. A replica of the second Fort Toulouse (1749-1763) was built on the eastern side of the park. Little is known of the life of the ordinary French Marine outside of his official activities within Fort Toulouse, hence the present excavations of the farmstead.