Alamo Archaeology Team Discovers Tip of Mexican Sword in South Wall Excavation

SAN ANTONIO – Archaeologists working near the Alamo discovered a unique military artifact, the broken tip of a sword believed to be owned by a Mexican non-commissioned officer. The sword, known as a briquet, was known to be carried by Mexican infantry. Based on the breakage pattern and the torquing of the tip, noted military historian Sam Nesmith believes that it may have been used between October 1835 and February 1836, and was likely used in Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos’ fortification and construction of the lunette or some other feature related to the fortification at the south gate of the Alamo. Mr. Nesmith also considers the possibility that it may have been used during the battle, but believes that the breakage pattern makes the first use more likely.

A similar briquet tip was also discovered in the archaeological excavation of Main Plaza in 2007, where General Cos’ troops dug an entrenchment in December 1835.

Briquete, c. 1830, Property of Texas Museum of Military History

Briquet, c. 1830, Property of Texas Museum of Military History


Archaeologists are conducting a systematic archaeological study of the Alamo complex grounds, the first such study of its kind to be completed on the site. The purpose of the work is to determine the location of the structural limits of the compound’s walls and how the landscape of the site has shifted over time. In particular, the archaeologists hope to identify the exact location of the south and west walls of the Alamo. The archaeological team is led by Nesta Anderson, PhD, with Pape-Dawson Engineers. Dr. Anderson will work with City of San Antonio Archeologist Kay Hindes; Jake Ivey; Steve Tomka, PhD, Raba Kistner; Shawn Marceaux, PhD, Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas – San Antonio; and Mary Jo Galindo, PhD, Pape-Dawson Engineers.

The work is part of a larger effort to design a new master plan for the Alamo Complex and surrounding area, known as Reimagine the Alamo, that is led by the Texas General Land Office, the City of San Antonio and the Alamo Endowment. The archaeology work began July 20 and is expected to take approximately three to four weeks. It involves periodic lane closures on Alamo Street and Houston Street. The archaeologists brief the public at 10:30 a.m. each day to explain what they are doing and answer questions from visitors. These briefings are broadcast live on the Reimagine the Alamo Facebook page.

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Kelli Epp – 210-710-8048