Long Barrack Archaeology Update - December 15

December 15, 2023

Archaeologists continued field work in EU-1 and EU-5. Excavations began in EU-2. Artifact processing also continued in the lab.

At a depth of 150 cm below surface, archaeologists completed hand excavation in EU-1. Soils at the base of the unit were clay-rich and no artifacts were present. Final documentation of the unit was started and will continue next week. Archaeologists produced a final plan view map and detailed soil profiles for each of the unit walls.

Archaeologist measuring depth inside of an excavation unit
Archaeologist measures the depths of the soil strata present in the excavation unit.
Archaeologist looking at soil inside excavation unit
Archaeologist examines soil texture to include in the profile description.

On Friday afternoon, archaeologists were able to begin excavations within EU-2. This unit measures 1.5 meters by 2.0 meters and is situated between EU-1 and EU-3 along the north perimeter wall. Archaeologists reached a depth of approximately 20 cm below surface by the end of the day. This top level was within the modern landscaping soils and there were no historic artifacts encountered. Excavations will continue in earnest next week.

Archaeologists continued excavation in EU-5. The unit is currently at a depth of approximately 130 cm below surface. After the removal of the compacted lime surface, archaeologists encountered a dark clay-rich soil that contained very few artifacts. The surface may have been the final cultural deposit within the unit. Excavations of the unit will continue next week.

Rectangular dirt section in an excavation unit
EU-1, level 1 excavation.
Whiteboard and marker inside excavation unit
EU-5 at 130 cm below surface.

In the lab, archaeologists identified several military-related, and likely Battle-associated, artifacts.

Two 0.63 caliber musket balls were recovered from EU-5 between 30 cm and 50 cm below surface. It is possible these musket balls were ammunition made for the British Baker Rifle or the 1795 model musket; however, there is no evidence that either of the musket balls were fired. Both musket balls display “out of round” characteristics due to the presence of a seam (left) and sprue (left and right). Sprue is a mass of lead waste produced from the mold, and often occurs when the sprue is being cut from the cooled musket ball.

Two gun flints were excavated from EU-5 between 50 and 80 cm below surface. Gun flints were bifacially modified stone tools manufactured from “flint,” a higher quality subgroup of chert. Both gunflints display a heel notch, which indicates that the gunflints had contact with a flintlock screw on a firearm. Typically, the origin of gun flints can be determined by the shape and color of the flint. Therefore, based on these criteria, these gunflints were manufactured in the Spanish style and were potentially used during the Mission period and through the Battle of the Alamo.

Two musket balls next to a ruler for size
Two musket balls recovered from EU-5.
Two gun flints next to a ruler for size
Two gun flints recovered from EU-5.