find wall of original Presidio La Bahia
October 11, 2004
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.