Archaeological Monitoring for the World Heritage Sidewalk Improvements Project, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) conducted archaeological monitoring for the World Heritage Sidewalk Improvements Project in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, in response to a request from the City of San Antonio (COSA). Archaeological monitoring began December 4, 2017, and was completed December 16, 2020. The project area encompassed three mission locations that included Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo (41BX3; Padre Drive), Mission San Juan de Capistrano (41BX5; Graf Road), and Mission San Francisco de la Espada (41BX4; Camino Coahuilteca/Espada Road), and all located in southern Bexar County. The three missions are part of a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, which encompasses the five San Antonio Missions. The missions are also part of the National Park Service (NPS) San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Additionally, the missions are listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and designated as State Antiquities Landmarks (SALs). Improvements that were monitored by CAR included excavations for 1.1 km (0.7 mi.) of sidewalk installations connected to existing COSA park trails and excavations for the installation of two pedestrian bridges crossing the San Juan Acequia (41BX268) and the Espada Acequia (41BX269). The project area spanned 0.16 ha (0.4 acre) in total, including 0.04 ha (0.09 acre) in the area of Mission San José, 0.04 ha (0.1 acre) in the area of Mission San Juan, and 0.08 ha (0.2 acre) in the area of Mission Espada. However, with the exception of the pedestrian bridge crossing the San Juan Acequia, the 0.04 ha (0.1 acres) near Mission San Juan were not monitored because the CAR was not notified of those excavations until after the fact, although the area was examined after the CAR was made aware of the work. All excavations took place within COSA property. The project fell under COSA's Unified Development Code (UDC) (Article 6 35-630 to 35-634) and required review by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) under the Antiquities Code of Texas. The archaeological work was performed under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8240. Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux served as Principal Investigator until November of 2019, when Leonard Kemp assumed that role after Dr. Marceaux's departure from the CAR. Antonia Figueroa served as the Project Archaeologist until September of 2019, when Sarah Wigley assumed that role after Figueroa's departure from the CAR. During monitoring, no other material was collected at the Mission San José (41BX3) or Mission San Juan (41BX5) locations. However, Feature 1 was encountered at the Camino Coahuilteca/Espada Road location near Mission Espada (41BX4). The cultural material dated to the nineteenth century and was included as part of 41BX4. No new archaeological sites were documented during the archaeological monitoring. CAR recommended no further work during the course of the project. However, any future subsurface work should be monitored by archaeologists due to the significance of the mission sites. Artifacts that were collected and records generated during this project were prepared for curation according to THC guidelines and are permanently curated at the CAR at UTSA.