Celebrating 300 Years: San Antonio's Origins: Missions, Presidio, Villa, and Camino and How They Shaped the Landscape and Culture

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

New Orleans is not the only city to celebrate its tricentennial in 2018. The city of San Antonio will celebrate its 300th birthday on May 1, 2018 with the founding of Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo). This symposium will examine the many changes to the landscape of the San Antonio River Valley during the Spanish Colonial period. The World Heritage San Antonio Missions form the backbone for this cultural evolution and influence the cultural landscape beyond their original footprint. The will also include papers that discuss how these landscape modifications have continued to effect the settlement patterns. urban development, and culture of the 7th largest city in the United States as well as greater South Texas.

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  • Documents (9)

  • The Alamo Underground: Recent Excavations at Mission San Antonio de Valero (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nesta J. Anderson.

    Recent excavations at the Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) revealed that in the midst of the highly developed urban landscape of San Antonio, pockets of archaeological deposits remain nestled between utilities, streets, and beautification improvements. Excavations at the west and south wall complexes revealed evidence of architectural features and three centuries of refuse left behind by San Antonio's residents as they reinvented the physical landscape. The diversity of material culture...

  • Faunal Analysis of a Late Colonial Midden at Mission San Fransisco de la Espada, San Antonio, TX. (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sebastian Salgado-Flores.

    In 1984, excavations conducted prior to stabilization work on the adjoining structures of the Bastion at Mission Espada unearthed a substantial amount of animal bones that remained unanalyzed until 2017. This paper will share the findings of this analysis, and explore what the animal remains unearthed at Mission Espada can tell us about cultural and economic changes unfolding in the San Antonio river valley in the late Colonial Period.

  • In Aguayo's Steps: From Thatched Jacals to Adobe Walls and Beyond--Archaeological Investigations at the 1722 site of the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kay Hindes.

    From 2013 to 2014, the City of San Antonio hired CAR, UTSA to conduct archaeological monitoring and test excavations at the site of the 1722 Presidio San Antonio de Bexar, also known in the 19th and 20th centuries as the Plaza de Armas.  The presidio represents one of the founding triad of mission, presidio and villa in what is modern day San Antonio. The 300th Anniversary of the founding of the City of San Antonio is being celebrated in 2018, and the discovery of archaeological deposits...

  • In Search of La Garita: The Archaeological Discovery of the Spanish Colonial Watch Tower and Powder House (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew T. Elverson.

    The location of the Spanish Colonial Watch Tower and Powder House, built between 1808-1809, has been confirmed in San Antonio. These structures represented a significant military post that was, through its span of use, occupied by the militaries of Spain, The Republic of Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The United States, and The Confederate States of America. The long use of the structures ended in the late 19th century when the buildings were demolished and their locations were lost. The City of...

  • Interpreting Stratigraphy in the San Antonio Missions: An Interdisciplinary Approach (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Angela Lombardi.

    The Spanish colonial missions of San Antonio had a complex history characterized by different phases of development and decline, featured by changes over time of the buildings’ structures and land use. This paper presents a research on Mission San Jose’ and Mission Espada: on one side, the study focuses at identifying the history of the church buildings through the analysis of the walls’ stratigraphic sequences, through on site sampling integrated with historical information.  In parallel, the...

  • Promoting Cultural Heritage through Contemporary Art: A Model from a San Antonio Based Artist Team (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maureen J Brown. Charles A Harrison.

    Cultural heritage has been presented to the public in a variety of traditional and engaging formats from heritage and archaeological fairs, museum exhibits, movies, plays, school curriculum, conferences, merit badge programs, books, etc.,--- and through artwork. With the preparations and events leading up to San Antonio’s big 300th celebration of the founding in 2018, the recent designation of our five San Antonio Missions as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the archaeology-artist team present an...

  • San Antonio Missions in the Late 18th Century - Decline or Success? (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan R Snow.

    Discussion of the Spanish Colonial period in San Antonio in the last quarter of the 18th century often focuses on the decline of the missions, the lack of indigenous people in the missions and the crumbling structures.  This characterization contradicts the successful completion of some of the most significant colonial structures in San Antonio such as the church at Mission San José. This paper will begin to look at evidence from the archeological and archival records that suggest that rather...

  • Spanish Colonial Dam & Acequia Systems in Brackenridge Park San Antonio Texas (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Clinton M. M. McKenzie.

    Report on archaeological investigations of two Spanish Colonial dams and associated irrigation canals (presas y acequias). The San Antonio de Valero begun in 1719 and the Labores de Arriba (or Upper Labor) begun in 1776. The Valero system supported irrigation for the eponymous Mission Pueblo. The Upper Labor system was for settlers in the Villa de San Fernando. Both systems have their headworks in the upper reach of the San Antonio River within the current Brackenridge Park. The Valero system...

  • Technical Considerations of the Growth and Evolution of the Spanish Colonial Irrigation System in San Antonio, Texas (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristi M Nichols.

    San Pedro Springs and the San Antonio River provided an ample water supply which enticed the Spanish to establish missions, a presidio, and villas in the vicinity.  Harnessing and diverting the flow of water became one of the important challenges the Spanish faced in developing successful agricultural fields.  Construction of the first irrigation ditch began shortly after the founding of Mission San Antonio de Valero.  Throughout the Spanish Colonial period and into the very early 1900s, the...