Mission Gate and Lunette Archaeology - February 10

February 10, 2023

Backhoe Trench 7 was excavated on Monday (Figures 1 and 2). The east-west trench measured approximately 21.5 m (70.5 ft) in length and 76 centimeters (2.5 ft) in width, with an additional 30 cm (1 ft) bench on each side. The depth ranged from approximately 1 to 1.8 meters (3.5 to 6 ft) below surface. A sample was screened every third excavator bucket, except when the matrix was road base. Provenience was maintained by marking every 2 meters horizontally and every 30 cm vertically. Few artifacts were recovered: metal, glass, ceramic, and faunal bone. There were no features encountered in BHT 7.

On Tuesday archaeologists documented BHT 7. Both trench profiles were hand cleaned by archaeologists prior to photo documentation. We took photos of the trench walls in 2 meter increments. Leica points were taken of the trench corners and every depth at 1 meter increments. We mapped the entire length of the north profile, which enabled us to identify the various previous disturbances.

Orange netting around excavation plot
Figure 1. Completed Backhoe Trench 7, facing west.
Excavation area with orange netting
Figure 2. Completed BHT 7, facing east. Note the concrete footer in foreground was below a metal base, likely a light post.

Due to weather, Wednesday was spent in the lab processing artifacts.

Monitoring of excavation around trees and within a planter occurred on Thursday. During excavation, test units from UTSA-CAR’s 2019 investigations were revealed (Figures 3 and 4). Further exposure of the surrounding landscape determined that what was previously identified as a feature, is actually the natural hardpan. Shawn Marceaux concurred in field and a notification was sent to the THC, as excavation needed to extend an additional 20 cm deep in this area. Modern materials, such as Styrofoam, were observed as excavators removed soils within the planter.

Construction trucks paving area in excavation plot
Figure 3. Removal of soils from planter along eastern boundary of project area, facing east.
Rocky, excavation area with a whiteboard and marker
Figure 4. Expanded exposure of 2019 Test Unit to reveal hardpan, facing north.