Archaeological work that was slated to start on Tuesday morning will actually start sometime later this summer, according to officials, or perhaps later this week.
“We’re still doing a lot of homework,” said Becky Dinnin, director of the Alamo for the Texas General Land Office (GLO) on Tuesday.
Teams will start work at two sites adjacent to the Alamo from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. for three to four weeks – depending on what they find. One dig site will close off the so-called western boundary walls and acequia recreations that make up the passageway, or paseo, from the Plaza to the San Antonio River Walk (site #2 on map below and photo above). The other is located on what is thought to be the southern boundary wall of the 1836 compound (#1).
Sites on Houston Street (#3), and on the sidewalk in front of The Amazing Mirror Maze (#4) are considered potential dig sites for now.
“It depends on what we find (at the first two sites),” Dinnin said.
Because of the complexity of the archaeological work – the area has 10,000 years of human history under modern stone and infrastructure – and its implications for the Alamo Plaza Master Plan, the GLO, City of San Antonio, and Alamo Foundation are letting master plan project leads from Preservation Design Partnership (PDP) take as much time as they need.
Archaeologists will provide daily public briefings at 10:30 a.m. every day once the the digging commences.
The multi-million dollar public and privately funded master plan aims to rejuvenate the plaza and take steps to more accurately portray the Alamo’s historic grounds and honor the many layers of history at the site – going back to the indigenous peoples.
As Dinnin stood at one of the future dig sites (#1), she pointed to a prime example of the low-impact ways the boundary walls are identified. A path of slightly darker stones, create a perimeter around the plaza, through South Alamo Street, connecting with the western walls. It essentially looks like a crosswalk, she said, and there are a few small plaques along the way.
“This isn’t telling the full story,” she said. “We need to fill in the gaps of the (site’s) timeline.”
As work on the master plan continues, there are plenty of opinions in the community about what to do with South Alamo Street, the three buildings that the state purchased across the street that house tourist attractions unrelated to the Alamo, and how to interpret different eras of the Alamo.
The GLO and the design team “have received a lot of ‘you oughtas,’” she said, but until this “homework” is finished, they’ll have to be as patient as the rest of San Antonio that’s eager to see the next step in the evolution of the Alamo.
Top image: Alamo Plaza paseo, which offers a recreation of historic walls, will be one of the archaeological dig sites. Photo by Scott Ball.