The Alamo restoration and conservation project: excavations at the south transept
Meissner, Barbara A.
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In January 1995, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, as custodians of the Alamo Shrine for the state of Texas, contracted with the Center for Archaeological Research of the University of Texas at San Antonio to excavate and/or monitor excavation of approximately 29 square meters outside and 11 square meters inside the south wall of the south transept of the Alamo church. The excavations were made necessary by a plan to insert metal plates into the wallsof the Alamo near the foundation, to prevent further damage being caused by groundwater in the lower part of the walls of the 250-year-old building. Excavations in January and February 1995 determined that artifacts inside the church were largely of nineteenth century origin; however, in one area numerous Colonial-period artifacts were found. The sediment inside the church, uner the flagstone floor, was found to be broken stone rubble mixed with loose sandy clay. Exterior sediments from the ground surface to the top of the foundation, approximately 60 cm below ground surface, were severely disturbed. One 10-cm level east of the south transept appears to be an intact nineteenth-century level. Most dateable artifacts from the exterior can be assigned to the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. On the final day of excavations, the sediments at the bottom of the excavations inside the church collapsed in three places. What appeared to be human remains were seen in two of these openings, approximately 20cm below the lowest excavated level. These holes were backfilled and no further investigation of the remains was attempted.