Archaeologists have recovered the tip of a Mexican sword while excavating at the south wall gate of the Alamo.
The artifact is believed to be from a sword issued to a non-commissioned officer in the Mexican infantry and dated about 1835, according to Nesta Anderson, the lead archaeologist on the dig. It could have been used in the famous battle for the Alamo in 1836 or in construction along the southern wall, she said at a news conference at the site Thursday morning.
“We’re really excited to have evidence of military action here at the south wall,” Anderson said. “We have got very little evidence overall of construction material, so this is really nice to have.”
The origin of the sword tip was made by Sam Nesmith, former Alamo curator and director of the Texas Institute and Museum of Military History, Anderson said. She identified it as a French-manufactured briquet and said it will be prepared for curation at the UT-San Antonio Center for Archaeological Research.
In 1835, Mexican Gen. Martin Perfecto de Cos and Col. Domingo de Ugartechea had tried to fortify the Alamo mission’s southern wall against attack. In December of the same year, Texas forces led by Stephen F. Austin captured the mission after a lengthy siege. Mexican forces eventually retook the Alamo in the 1836 battle.
A similar sword tip was found in the excavation of Main Plaza in 2007, where Gen. Cos’ troops dug an entrenchment in December 1835, the archaeology team said in a news release.
The current archaeological dig is part of the “Reimagine the Alamo” project, a systematic archaeological study of the Alamo grounds put together by the Texas General Land Office, the city of San Antonio and the private Alamo Endowment.
Earlier this month, the team announced the recovery of more than 300 artifacts near the Alamo’s west wall, including imported European ceramics, a button made from animal bone, fragments from a tooth brush and square nails — emblems of “daily life at its best,” Anderson said.
The latest find was announced in a live video on the project’s Facebook page. You can watch the full video below: