Archaeological investigations within the church sacristy at Mission San José (41BX3), San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas




Tomka, Steve A.
Fox, Anne A.
Meissner, Barbara A.

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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio


This report contains the results of archaeological work performed by the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) for the National Park Service (NPS) under Contract Numbers: 1443PX7600-97053 and 1443PX7600-98028. Both projects were carried out under Texas Historical Commission Permit Number 1841. The bulk of the report deals with the results of shovel testing and archaeological excavations conducted as part of the Indian Quarters Stabilization project at Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo (41BX3) for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Appendix 1 of this report contains the results of shovel testing and the monitor-ing of sign removal and installation conducted at Mission San Juan, Mission Espada, Mission Concepcion, and Mission San Jose as part of the Missions Signage Removal Installation Project. Mission San Jose is located ca. seven miles south of downtown San Antonio on a high terrace overlooking the west bank of the San Antonio River. On October 27 and 29, 1997, CAR personnel excavated a total of 39 shovel tests (ST) along the southern, eastern, and western outer walls of the mission. The test excavations were conducted in preparation for grade alterations to be undertaken along the exterior and interior walls of the mission compound. In June and late July 1998, CAR personnel conducted excavations outside the south wall and within Room 54 adjacent to the western comer of the southeast gate of the mission. These excavations were undertaken to mitigate the impact of underpinning efforts on the southwest comer of the Southeast Gate of the mission being undertaken by the NPS through a major construction contract. The shovel testing and excavations showed that: 1) some high density artifact concentrations are present outside of the western and eastern mission walls possibly representing colonial middens; 2) a large portion of the soils and cultural materials found immediately adjacent the south wall of the mission show signs of disturbance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA) efforts to relocate the colonial foundation and outer walls of the mission; 3) much of the cultural material-bearing matrix found along the south wall of the mission, inside Room 54, is also disturbed to a depth of approximately 19 inches bs, and 4) a colonial living surface exists immediately below the disturbed zone in portions of the interior of Room 54 and under the southeast gate. Due to the urgency of the construction contractor to complete the regrading and underpinning efforts to reduce erosion and stabilize the southwest corner of the southeast gate, work on these projects proceeded concurrently and immediately following the archaeological investigations. However, it is the opinion of CAR that the regrading project impacted no intact cultural materials and, in fact, may have served to preserve, through burial, future disturbances to the deeper buried (less disturbed) colonial zone. In addition, the archaeological investigations conducted by CAR have recovered significant data and mitigated the impact of construction activities related to the underpinning of the southwest corner of the southeast gate. We commend the NPS and the construction contractor for their cooperation and collaboration in these efforts.



archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, San Antonio, Bexar County, excavations