After 12 episodes and a long search that came tantalizingly close to locating the lost battlefield of the 1813 Battle of Medina, podcaster Brandon Seale returns with another installment of Finding Medina.
Seale is calling his 13th episode “Digging Medina,” in honor of American Veterans Archaeological Recovery, known as AVAR, whose help made an archaeological-style dig possible. A dozen armed forces veterans volunteered to help Seale with the meticulous process of searching multi-acre parcels near the likely battlefield location along the Bexar-Atascosa County line.
“Who better to find the lost battlefield than a bunch of veterans, and a bunch of veterans trained in archaeology,” Seale says early on in the hour and a half-long episode.
An AVAR participant is then heard explaining why walking acres with a metal detector and headphones, then carefully digging each time the detector pings, is a good activity for veterans.
“Archaeology is a lot like military service. We have a shared mission that we’re all pulling together in order to reach,” the unidentified veteran says. “We’re working outside with our hands, we’re on a pretty tight-knit schedule, so we’ve got that stability and solidity to the day. And of course, we’re working alongside other veterans who have the same values that we do. So in a sense, it’s like military service without the shooting.”
Shooting is the key to finding the battlefield, however. Each time a detector signaled during the February search, Seale and his team hoped to find bits of iron or lead buried in the dusty soil.
Musket shot is one potential signal of a battlefield, but grapeshot from cannons is a much clearer indicator of firefights like the Battle of Medina. Mexican Royalist forces used cannons and cavalry to repel a revolt by the Republican Army of the North, a band of Tejanos, Native Americans, and “Anglo Americans who joined the fight after leaving the United States in 1812 just as it was under attack from its old imperial master,” Seale wrote in a description of the 2019 introductory episode.
As “Digging Medina” reveals, grapeshot was found in more than one location, drawing Seale ever closer to finally pinpointing where the lost battlefield might be. The new evidence will be presented at the Atascosa County Historical Commission’s annual Battle of Medina Symposium, to be held Aug. 20 from noon to 3 p.m. at 25 E. 5th St. in Leming.