Texas Historical Commission


In June of 2015, Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. (RKEI) was contracted by K. Friese + Associates to perform archaeological investigations related to the replacement of a section of water main located to the east of the Spanish Governor’s Palace and City of San Antonio (COSA) offices within the Vogel Belt Complex. Since the project was sponsored by a political subdivision of the state and impacted land owned by the COSA, it fell under the jurisdiction of the COSA’s Preservation Ordinance (Division 3, Article VI Historic Preservation and Urban Design, Texas Unified Development Code) administered by the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP). Furthermore, the project also falls under the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Code of Texas, as overseen by the Texas Historical Commission.

The investigations were conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 7299. Kristi Miller Nichols served as Principal Investigator. The project was divided into two phases. Phase I consisted of exploratory backhoe trenching and the monitoring of water main trenching in front of the Vogel Belt Complex. Phase II consisted of the removal of pavers in front of the Spanish Governor’s Palace and the monitoring of water main trenching and the replacement of the pavers. To accommodate logistical concerns by nearby property owners and to minimize disruptions, the two phases took place nearly a month apart from each other, beginning in June and completed in July.

The Phase I trench (9.5 meters; 31.2 feet) was excavated to expose the main from the valve to a bend near Dolorosa Street. No cultural materials were encountered in the exploratory trench, and the SAWS contractor was allowed to continue the remainder of the mechanical trenching while monitored by RKEI archaeologists. Intact cultural deposits were identified near the southern end of the Phase II trench buried at a depth of 80-103 centimeters below surface in an area offset from the original water main installation trench. The intact deposit yielded only Spanish Colonial artifacts, indicating that in situ colonial materials related to the use of the Governor’s Palace and Plaza de Armas are potentially present.

Investigations determined that intact cultural deposits dating to the Spanish Colonial Period are found in front of the Spanish Governor’s Palace and may extend across large portions of the Military Plaza. Therefore, as it has been the standard practice to date, archaeological investigations should continue to be carried out prior to future subsurface disturbances planned within Military Plaza.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
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