The Dallas Morning News

Un­earthed stones may be part of Alamo

They could be foot­ing for wall from 1700s mis­sion era, team try­ing to map out ori­gins says

- Scott Hud­dle­ston, San An­to­nio Ex­press-News Archaeology · Social Sciences · San Antonio · Tennessee · Texas · Alamo, TX · Davy Crockett · Gonzales, TX · George P. Bush

Ar­chae­ol­o­gists have un­earthed stones in San An­to­nio that might be as­so­ci­ated with the main gate of the Alamo.

Ar­chae­ol­o­gists plan to keep dig­ging in an area where the Alamo’s south wall once stood after un­earthing stones that might be as­so­ci­ated with the main gate of the mis­sion and 1836 com­pound.

Nesta An­der­son, lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor of a team that be­gan ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tions in the city’s Alamo Plaza on July 18, said ex­perts be­lieve the stones may be a wall “footer” of the 1700s mis­sion era. The stones were found Wednesday, close to the likely lo­ca­tion of the gate, where mis­sion in­hab­i­tants and Alamo de­fend­ers would have en­tered and left the com­pound.

“We’ve got stone that has been placed in what ap­pears to be a trench that would have been ex­ca­vated,” An­der­son said. “We’ve got a lit­tle more ex­plo­ration to do. But things are look­ing very in­ter­est­ing for us.”

The work will sup­port a long-range mas­ter plan for the Alamo area that could in­clude pro­pos­als for in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the main gate area as an en­try point. It was where David Crock­ett and his Ten­nessee vol­un­teers, as well as the “Im­mor­tal 32” de­fend­ers from Gon­za­les, likely en­tered the Alamo be­fore or dur­ing the 13-day siege. All 189 known de­fend­ers were killed in bat­tle on March 6, 1836.

Steve Tomka, an­other ar­chae­ol­o­gist on the team, had said the ex­ca­va­tions in a roughly 15-by-20-foot space in the plaza were oc­cur­ring in “an area where sev­eral walls come to­gether to form the gate.” Early artist ren­der­ings show rect­an­gu­lar struc­tures on ei­ther side of the gate, near the Alamo church.

By 1836, the de­fend­ers had likely put a pal­isade wall, a line of posts, around the gate for pro­tec­tion, Tomka said dur­ing a briefing Wednesday.

An­der­son said some archival records that sug­gest the gate was slightly east of the ex­ca­va­tion were doc­u­mented with­out to­day’s global-po­si­tion­ing tech­nol­ogy.

“So it is pos­si­ble we have some­thing that is as­so­ci­ated with the gate,” she said.

The ar­chae­o­log­i­cal project is funded out of a $4.5 mil­lion mas­ter plan bud­get, part of $25 mil­lion al­lo­cated by the Legislatur­e in 2015 for the plan and re­lated projects. Texas Land Com­mis­sioner Ge­orge P. Bush, who stopped in Thurs­day for a tour of the ex­ca­va­tion site, said he will ask for more fund­ing next year for Alamo preser­va­tion and en­hance­ment.

“So this is one step, an im­por­tant step, in a long process,” Bush said.

Ar­chae­ol­o­gists had ear­lier found well over 300 ar­ti­facts and an adobe brick for­ma­tion at a nearby ex­ca­va­tion site that may have been part of the Alamo’s west wall.

 ?? Photos by Brit­tany Gree­son/San Antonio Ex­press-News ?? Ar­chae­ol­o­gists work on one of two sites at the Alamo in San Antonio. The team plans to keep dig­ging af­ter un­earthing stones that might be associated with the main gate of the 1836 com­pound.
Photos by Brit­tany Gree­son/San Antonio Ex­press-News Ar­chae­ol­o­gists work on one of two sites at the Alamo in San Antonio. The team plans to keep dig­ging af­ter un­earthing stones that might be associated with the main gate of the 1836 com­pound.
 ??  ?? Be­fore ren­o­va­tion of the Alamo be­gins, ar­chae­ol­o­gists are try­ing to learn as much as they can about its orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture and lo­ca­tion. Up­dates are be­ing posted on the Reimag­ine the Alamo Face­book page.
Be­fore ren­o­va­tion of the Alamo be­gins, ar­chae­ol­o­gists are try­ing to learn as much as they can about its orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture and lo­ca­tion. Up­dates are be­ing posted on the Reimag­ine the Alamo Face­book page.

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