An Inside Look into Archaeology in the Long Barrack

May 29, 2019

Earlier this year, the Alamo Long Barrack was closed so that much-needed preservation work could be conducted. A few aspects of this preservation work include assessing the condition of the structure’s walls and the ground beneath it.

Recently, the Alamo’s preservation team began digging in the Long Barrack to shed light on the ground beneath the floor.

“We are removing the flagstone from the floor inside of the Long Barrack,” the Alamo’s Archaeologist Kristi Nichols said. “This is a dry run to see what the flag stone is laid in, what the substrate is underneath it, and how deep we have to go to get to the dirt level,” she added.

To do this, the preservation team removed the mortar from around the flagstone, then removed the flagstone from the concrete. After this, the team cut through the concrete below the floor and to get to the dirt beneath the Long Barrack. The dig took ended up going seven inches below the surface.

Why is it important that this work be done on the Long Barrack?

“By doing this, we are able to plan and prepare for future archaeological investigations. We now know how long it is going to take and how deep we have to go before we have to swap our digging tools for archaeological tools,” Nichols said.

In addition to the floor, the walls of the Long Barrack are also being worked on as well. Using ground penetrating radar, a team of scientists scanned both the inside and outside of the walls. Using this information, they will create a 3D image that shows the Alamo’s preservation team how thick the walls are and if any voids exist between the stones.

“We want to make sure that these historic structures, the Long Barrack and the Church, continue to be here for future generations to see,” Kristi Nichols said.

The Long Barrack’s history goes back to the early Spanish settlement and mission era. As one of the oldest buildings in Texas, preserving it for future generations is the Alamo’s goal. For updates on preservation work on the Long Barrack, follow @OfficialAlamo on social media, or visit