Archaeology Update — Week of June 15–19

Kristi Nichols, Director of Archaeology, Collections and Historical Research
June 19, 2020

This week, no archaeological work occurred within Crockett and Bonham Streets and the southern portion of Alamo Plaza as part of the Phase I of the Alamo Plan. The recent potholing work related to relocating buried utilities has allowed the project team to reassess the location and/or realignments of utility replacements.

This better-informed utility plan and the subsequent changes to the original drawings were presented to the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation and the Texas Historical Commission Archaeology Division to amend the current permitted work to include these changes. Although much work will be similar to the original scope provided, the changes in location required archaeologists inform the project’s oversight agencies of the changes to areas to be impacted. Archaeological work for this project is likely to resume in the coming days. Archaeological work will consist of monitoring the excavation of trenches for the installation of new utilities along Crockett and Bonham Streets.

Archaeological work has continued within the Alamo Church as well, with the exhumation of encountered intentional burials and continuation of the test units to allow for the installation of the sensors for monitoring the historic church walls’ conditions below ground. Comprehensive measurements have been collected prior to any removal which will aid in the analysis of the remain once the exhumation process is completed. All human remains recovered from the current efforts have been carefully removed and stored in the Alamo Curation Vault for a short period of time until reburial of all remains can occur, per the previously established Human Remains Protocol set in place for this project. The archaeological team has communicated to all parties outlined in the Human Remains Protocol the current progress of the investigations.

Archaeological investigations will continue over the next several weeks, with the archaeological excavations associated with the preservation work in the Church likely wrapping up before the end of July. A separate project is slated to begin in the next few weeks, consisting of the excavation of two relatively small pits to allow for the installation of recently conserved cannons in the arcade located south of the Church. Previous excavations conducted for a similar installation in 2018 did not encounter significant cultural material.