A recent monthlong excavation at the Alamo could be the first of many carefully planned archaeological projects to come — radar scans and digs aimed at revealing buried secrets of the sacred mission and battle site.
James “Jake” Ivey, a veteran archaeologist considered one of the most knowledgeable experts still living on underground deposits in the Alamo area, said he would like to see a series of investigative digs planned for the future and made accessible to the public as part of the visitor experience. Seeing archaeological work in progress would be more meaningful than a video or lecture, he said.
“Nothing makes the Alamo more personal than watching the dirt come out of the ground and sometimes offer up a bullet or sword tip,” said Ivey, who is providing consulting services at the state-owned Alamo complex and for the archaeological project in the city-owned Alamo Plaza.
But he cautioned that any future digs proposed in a long-range Alamo-area master plan should have clear objectives, so that buried archaeological treasures remain intact until needed to answer specific questions.
“Every time you dig a hole, you destroy stuff,” he said. “The whole relationship to the earth, buildings and people is no longer there in a direct observable sense. It’s better to leave it until we have questions that really need answering.”
The July 18-Aug. 18 excavation in the plaza could give direction for a long-range Alamo master plan that might result in a multimillion-dollar upgrade to the area by the city, Texas General Land Office and nonprofit Alamo Endowment. Possible outcomes include beautification, public art, interpretive signs or displays, a modern visitor center and replication of historic structures in a more reverent, pedestrian-friendly setting than what exists today.
Source: San Antonio Express-News