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
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.