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3rd Annual Currents in Texas Archaeology Symposium

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Friday, October 21 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Witte and the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation are excited to bring you the 3rd Annual Currents in Texas Archaeology Synmposium. Join the city Archaeologist Kay Hindes for an exploration of the probable original site of Mission San Antonio de Valero, or the Alamo, and see artifacts from this important excavation. Asistant City Archaeologist Matthew Elverson will also present, sharing discoveries from recent archaeological and archival investigations and of the Spanish Colonial powder house and watchtower structures.

$5 for members, students, and educators $10 for other adults

San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial Powder House and Watch Tower: An Archaeological Investigation 

Matthew Elverson, Assistant City Archaeologist 


The Spanish Colonial Powder House and Watch Tower, likely constructed between 1807 and 1810, represented a significant sentry post that was, through its span of use, occupied by the militaries of Spain, 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 and the buildings were demolished and their locations were lost. Through crowd-research, archival map and record analysis, a ground penetrating radar survey, and archaeological investigations, the location of the Spanish Colonial Watch Tower and Powder House is now likely confirmed. 


Matthew Elverson was hired by the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation in 2014 as the Assistant City Archaeologist. He graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2009 with a B.A. in History. Focusing in bioarchaeology and historical archaeology, Matthew graduated with an M.A. in Anthropology from Texas State University-San Marcos in 2013. He has served as a field archaeologist, principal investigator, and field director for several cultural resource management firms and academic studies throughout Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Belize, and Italy. In San Antonio, Matthew works closely with the development community and the general public to preserve and protect the rich and diverse cultural fabric of the city.

The Probable First Site of Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo)

Kay Hindes, City Archaeologist


The first location of Mission San Antonio de Valero (commonly known as The Alamo) was generally described by the Spanish in the early 18th century, but has never been identified archaeologically. In 2013, Kay Hindes, City Archaeologist, located a number of artifacts that are colonial in age in property owned by the Christopher Columbus Society, located just north of downtown. Subsequent archaeological investigations in 2013 and 2015 provided strong artifactual evidence, when combined with the historical archival record, for this location being the probable first site of Mission San Antonio de Valero. This presentation will cover the archival research and archaeological investigations of the site.  


Historian and archeologist Kay Hindes has worked as the City Archeologist for the City of San Antonio since 2003. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin and has conducted a variety of cultural resource studies. A specialist in Spanish Colonial mission archeology and archival research, Hindes was instrumental in the locating the site of Mission San Saba as well as identifying the second location of Mission Espiritu Santo (41VT10) in Victoria. She is the author of The Rediscovery of Santa Cruz of San Sabá, A Mission for the Apache in Spanish Texas (Texas Historical Commission and Texas Tech University). She has overseen work on over 1.2 billion dollars worth of projects for the City of San Antonio. 

Recent Excavations at the Alamo

Dr. Nesta Anderson, Pape-Dawson Engineers


Recent archaeological investigations at The Alamo were conducted to elucidate the spatial dimensions of the Spanish Colonial-age compound’s south and west walls. Covering a span of about four weeks, these excavations provided archaeologists with a wealth of information regarding the Alamo’s historic inhabitants. Dr. Nesta Anderson, the lead Principal Investigator for the investigation, will discuss the excavation’s findings and present the archaeological interpretations of the results. 


Nesta Anderson is a Senior Archaeologist at Pape-Dawson Engineering, providing cultural resources services for TxDOT, municipalities, and private sector clients.  Her background is in historical archaeology, with a specialty in African American archaeology. She has worked throughout Texas and surrounding states on archaeological sites, standing structures, and cemeteries. In San Antonio, Nesta has led a variety of projects, including work at, the Alamo, Main Plaza, along Mission Trails, on Kelly Air Force Base, and prehistoric and historic archaeological projects within the city limits.





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