Archaeological Investigations Associated with Security Upgrades at the Alamo (41BX6), San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas

Date
2021-04
Authors
Zapata, José E.
McKenzie, Clinton M. M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Abstract

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Archaeological Research (CAR), in response to a request from the Texas General Land Office, conducted archaeological testing and monitoring for the Alamo security upgrades project in the Alamo Plaza complex, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. Fieldwork for this project was completed between July 2019 and March 2020, and it consisted of testing and monitoring ahead of construction that had the potential to impact known or anticipated archaeological resources within the project area. These construction activities were associated with the installation of security bollards along the north, west, and south perimeters of Alamo Plaza, as well as ramps facilitating access. These nine spatially distinct impact areas within the Project Area cover approximately 0.58 ha (1.4 acres). The Project Area was located on a City of San Antonio (COSA) right-of-way on one side and State of Texas-owned property on the other. As public municipal property, undertakings that might affect archaeological or historical sites are subject to regulatory review. At the municipal level, the City-owned property falls under the COSA Unified Development Code (Article 6 35-630 to 35-634). The project also requires review by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) under the Antiquities Code of Texas, and it was completed under the Texas Antiquities Code, Permit No. 8714. José Zapata served as the Project Archaeologist. Leonard Kemp was the Principal Investigator of record for this project. He replaced Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux, former CAR Director, who was the original Principal Investigator on permit 8714. Mechanical excavations were monitored in all areas. In addition, 182 shovel tests and 14 test units were excavated. No new archaeological sites were recorded. Numerous artifacts were recovered, including chipped stone debitage and tools, firecracked rock, faunal bone, ceramics, glass, and assorted metal. These artifacts are noted in two chapters of this report. Four features were documented, with three of these (Features 1, 2, and 6) being part of the long history of the Mission San Antonio de Valero site (41BX6). Feature 1 is a semicircular cobble stone berm that may be part of the earthworks built at the south gate during the 1835-1836 siege of the Alamo. CAR’s excavations into this feature were limited, and while both the State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) status of 41BX6 is well established, additional investigations are necessary to determine the extent, nature, integrity, and significance of Feature 1. CAR recommends that the eligibility status of Feature 1 be considered undetermined as a contributing factor with regard to the overall SAL and NRHP status of the site. Feature 2 is a wall footing. Although not directly related to Mission San Antonio de Valero, this post-1850 wall footing is within the site’s footprint and was recorded as a revisit of site 41BX6. As such, CAR recommends that Feature 2 be considered not significant in that is not a contributing factor with regard to the overall SAL and NRHP status of 41BX6. Feature 6 is a north to south oriented wall footing. This feature was entered as a 41BX6 site revisit. CAR recommends that Feature 6 be considered as a significant, contributing component to 41BX6 with regard to the overall SAL and NRHP status of the site. It likely represents a section of a Spanish Colonial age footing. The section has good integrity and it is likely related to the Long Barrack at the Alamo. Finally, the fourth feature (Feature 5) is a segment of the San Antonio Streetcar System (41BX2163) dating to the late-nineteenth through early-twentieth centuries. CAR recommends that the feature is not significant with regard to the SAL and NRHP status of 41BX2163. The bollard installation project was completed as planned and included two redesigns requested by the COSA Office of Historic Preservation and the THC in order to protect two

Description
Keywords
Texas archaeology, historic archaeology, San Antonio Missions, Alamo, Mission San Antonio de Valero
Citation
Zapata, J.E., and C.M.M. McKenzie (2021). Archaeological Investigations Associated with Security Upgrades at the Alamo (41BX6), San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. Archaeological Report No. 487. Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Department