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This year's archeological dig took place between October 8 - 10, 2004. Archeologist and interested individuals from around Texas attended and worked during the three day dig. As always, archeologist from the Texas Historical Commission oversaw the dig.

An area outside the west wall and in front of the chapel was known to have some houses (Jacales) from the time of the Spanish and Mexican occupation of the fort. Documents indicated that a limestone kiln may have been in the area.

This year's dig started out looking for the kiln, but it soon became apparent that something else was being uncovered. It appears that a trench was being uncovered. Could it be a trench that once held the old wooden palisade? At this time the purpose of the trench cannot be verified. If this trench was indeed the wooden palisade as documented by Joseph De Urrutia as early as 1767, it could be a significant find. Click on the below picture for an enlarged view of the wooden palisade in front of the chapel.

Presidio La Bahia - 1767.  Click to view larger image.

Although no remains of the wooden posts were found, the path of the trench indicates a straight wall in the area excavated. Until additional excavation and research of artifacts found during the dig is complete, confirming the trench as the palisade location cannot be verified.

Scroll down and view a few photos taken during the archeological dig.

   
 
 

Archaeologists find wall of original Presidio La Bahia

October 11, 2004
ROBERT WILCOX
Victoria Advocate

GOLIAD - A significant historical find was made at Presidio La Bahia over the weekend during a public archaeological dig. Volunteers and members of several archaeological groups found what appears to be the "setting trench" for the original location of the palisades stockade wall at the fort.

The setting trench, which was uncovered Saturday and Sunday, is right in front of the parking lot of the presidio. Last year, archaeologists from the Texas Historical Commission conducted a magnetometer survey of the area, which produced a target area for a future dig. "We found a line in the survey that we wanted to examine in this year's dig," said Jeff Durst, an archaeologist from the Texas Historical Commission. "On a nearby ridge we found some modern trash and initially suspected the line might be a foundation of an old house." However, as the digging progressed over the weekend, it became apparent that it was the location of the palisades stockade wall. The walls were the first line of defense against attacks. The setting trench, on which the wooden wall resided, was built in the mid-1700s and still has footings for the original postholes.

The location of the palisades stockade wall has historical importance, according to officials and volunteers.

"Discovering unknowns about the past, where the original west wall was, is significant," said Newton Warzecha, the director at Presidio La Bahia.

"I think it's really awesome that this could be the palisades wall," said Jenna Bacorn, who volunteers at the Texas Historical Commission in Austin. Bacorn, who recruited her mother, Viva Bacorn, to help in this year's dig, is a senior archaeology major at the University of Texas at Austin.

The wall is located at a slight angle in relation to the presidio, was which was reconstructed in the mid-1960s by a private foundation.

Presidio La Bahia and the Texas Historical Commission have also started digs at two of the three possible Goliad massacre sites. The massacre of more than 340 Texans took place in Goliad during the Texas Revolution in the mid-1830s.

The men were led away from the fort on three different roads and then executed. Those roads were the old San Antonio road, the old Victoria road and the old Capano road.

The weekend's dig focused on the old Victoria Road and the old Capano road areas. Magnetometer surveys and some digs have just started. The location of the third road still needs to be researched, Warzecha said.

October is Texas Archaeology Month, with activities all around the state including the Goliad dig and an archaeological fair at the Museum of the Coastal Bend.

"People can learn how to conduct an archaeological dig using proper methods and techniques," Warzecha said.

As of noon on Sunday, archaeologists and volunteers were still searching for the end of the stockade wall.

Robert Wilcox is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6514 or rwilcox@vicad.com.

 
Archeological Dig: October 8 - 10, 2004
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