Researchers say they have determined a shipwreck found in Baldwin County is not the remains of the last known ship to bring slaves from Africa to the United States.
The Alabama Historical Commission said the boat is too large and isn't made from the same wood, and evidence shows it was abandoned on shore, where the Clotilda was burned and sank.
The Clotilda smuggled more than a hundred slaves into Mobile Bay in 1860. The captain burned the ship, and prosecutors were unable to convict him of violating slave trade laws because of a lack of evidence, according to historical documents.
The origins of the shipwreck that was discovered are unknown. Officials said they believe the interest generated by the ship's discovery could lead to eventually finding the Clotilda.
"While the follow up investigation of the Twelvemile Island Wreck has found that this wreck is not Clotilda, its discovery and the attention paid to it will be the start of a renewed effort to find Clotilda," Alabama Historical Commission executive director Lisa Jones said in a news release.
The Alabama Historical Commission, U.S. National Park Service, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the University of West Florida, the Slave Wrecks Project and SEARCH Inc. all took part in the investigation..