Archaeological Investigations of Room 17, the Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano (41BX5), San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
In February and March 2011, the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio (CAR-UTSA) re-excavated trenches first excavated by Mardith Schuetz in 1968 at two locales outside Room 17, the mission church, at Mission San Juan Capistrano in the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park (SAMNHP). Schuetz’s Trench 2 was located at the corner of a buttress and the east wall on the north side of the north door of the church. Trench 5 was behind the church, approximately 15.6 feet south of the west wall window at the corner of the wall and a buttress. The excavation occurred to assess the condition of the foundation ahead of restoration efforts to be conducted by Ford, Powell, and Carson, Architects and Planners, Inc. The 1968 excavations were also conducted to expose the foundation. At that time, the matrix was backfilled without being screened. Therefore, the current excavations through the disturbed deposits did not proceed in controlled levels. However, all excavated deposits were screened for temporally diagnostic artifacts, which were collected and taken for curation at CAR-UTSA. Disarticulated human remains were recovered from the matrix screened from Trench 2. These were in a disturbed context that had been excavated in 1968. As per discussion with Susan Snow of the SAMNHP, the remains will be reinterred in the approximate location where they were found. No intact burial pit was present. The remains will be housed temporarily at CAR-UTSA until re-interred. The work was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 5880. Steve A. Tomka served as Principal Investigator and Jennifer L. Thompson served as the Project Archaeologist.