Friday, August 19, 2016

Alamo Archeologists Find More than 1,700 Artifacts in 4 Weeks

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 2:55 PM

click to enlarge TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
After four weeks of digging in Alamo Plaza, a team of archeologists has finished up work. And they found a variety of cool stuff — more than 1,700 artifacts in all.

The effort is just the beginning of what could be a massive overhaul of Alamo Plaza. The team, which is led by Nesta Anderson, was tasked with answering three questions for the Texas General Land Office, the Alamo Endowment and the City of San Antonio, which is creating the new master plan. They tried to find the boundaries of the original complex, including where the walls were and whether they were still in place. The team was tasked with finding the original ground surface of the mission and exploring how the whole layout relates to the San Antonio River.

During the search for those answers, Anderson said archeologists uncovered more than 1,700 artifacts, the large majority of which were ceramics. There were two main work areas where discoveries were made: the Alamo's south and west walls. At the west wall, Anderson said the team found lots of evidence that Native Americans at the mission lived in this area of the Alamo complex. "We were in the rooms where Native Americans used to live," she said. At the west wall, the team uncovered the tip of a Mexican non-commissioned officer's sword that might even have been used in the Battle for the Alamo or in the months before the battle.

However, the scope of their findings is so large that the team is still cleaning and cataloging everything. They'll turn all of that information over to the master planners, who will use it to guide their vision of what Alamo Plaza should look like. With that said, here's an abbreviated tour of some of the cool stuff archeologists found:

TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
This might not look like much, but it's actually the tip of the aforementioned sword that may have been used during the Battle of the Alamo. The team made the find while excavating the south wall, which was near the main gate of the Alamo. Anderson says the sword was either used during the 1836 battle of during the 1835 fortification of the wall.

TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
These two men are examining a remarkable discovery: an actual part of the Alamo's west wall. This was one of the first discoveries announced by the team. These are adobe bricks the archeologists found about two feet under street level. At Friday's last media briefing, Anderson said the team believes this underground feature extends further out, but they have no idea yet how far.

click to enlarge TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
These are square-head nails, which were commonly used during the 19th century.

click to enlarge TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
This photo is another example of why archeologists are so valuable. What seemingly appears to be trash is really, actually, very cool. This is bone, which was used to make buttons. Notice the circular shapes that are cut out of the fragment, that's where the button came from.

click to enlarge TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
Believe it or not, this is a toothbrush fragment. 

click to enlarge TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
This is a bottle fragment from a San Antonio apothecary, or drug store.

click to enlarge TEXAS GENERAL LAND OFFICE
  • Texas General Land Office
This is the head of a razor.

To see a few more photos, view our slideshow of artifacts found during the dig.


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