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Alamo dig ends with no sign of south wall, but there are clues to where it went

Sample of artifacts found during the Alamo south wall dig
Alamo Trust
Sample of artifacts found during the Alamo south wall dig

A six-week dig to find the south wall of the Alamo mission-fortress came to an end in late January with no signs of the structure.

Tiffany Lindley, the Alamo archaeologist, said archival maps showed the existence of the wall, but no major traces of it were found during the dig. But she said Alamo experts do have a theory as to where it went.

"Our preliminary interpretation is that when the structures were torn down back in the late 1880s, the city graded the entire area, and when they did that, they then put like a fill material back onto the surface to level the plaza," Lindley said.

She said they did make some other minor finds during the same dig, including metal objects, a lot of broken glass, and some remnants of some ceramic items.

"We have some that are late Spanish Colonial, so those are 1800s. But we also have something called white earthen ware, that's [from] a later period," Lindley said.

Archaeological digs on the Alamo grounds have become common in the last couple of years to mark the original footprint of the mission-fortress as part of the $400 million city, county, and state makeover of Alamo Plaza.

Experts want to create a bigger, more educational, and more inclusive history of the Texas landmark, which attracts around 2.5 million visitors a year, putting it at the top of the state's tourist attractions.

Digging has also been done to make sure other new additions do not sit on top of valuable artifacts. A collections building and education center are in the works, along with a new visitor center and museum across the street from the entrance to the Alamo church.

The south wall was the location of the mission gate and a lunette, a defensive trench, at the time of the 1836 battle.

A visitor facing the front of the church can imagine the wall running to their right along a space of 130 to 150 feet, approximately.

An outdoor interpretation of the gate and lunette is expected to open later this year. The Alamo makeover should all be completed by March 2026 to mark the 190th anniversary of the battle and the 250th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Alamo officials said.

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