Mission excavation project begins Saturday

Richard Gonzalez of Brackettville, who serves as vice president of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, sets up a teepee at the Mission San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz with Uvalde Classical Academy first- and second-graders. The photo was taken during the spring of 2016.

Charley Robinson

Staff writer

An 18th-century Spanish settlement in Real County, Mission San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz, is about to get some needed attention as plans for preserving the historic site are underway.

Prompted by the efforts of the Nueces Canyon Mission Restoration Organization and the local community, interest in the site was renewed and a plan to revitalize the mission was formulated.

The mission is not in immediate danger of destruction, however, it is slowly succumbing to neglect. This once vibrant site still has much to offer. An archaeological and architectural research project of the site is the first step in the restoration.

There were some extensive archaeological investigations in the 1960s but serious efforts to stabilize and restore the historic property have recently been revisited.

Archaeologist Curtis D. Tunnell began work on the mission in 1963 and was able to delineate the four corners of the compound. Despite damage caused by a field crew from the Texas Memorial Museum who leveled part of the southern section of the site with heavy machinery, Tunnell was able to uncover intact floors and building foundations.

The initial stage of research will include three phases. Texas Tech University and Texas Archaeological Society, under the direction of Tamra Walter, are planning excavations at the site. Students arrive Saturday and will begin work on the mission Monday, May 22. They anticipate being on site for about five weeks.


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