Alamo dig: Archaeologists unearth tip of Mexican sword

Archaeologists digging near the Alamo have unearthed the broken tip of a Mexican soldier’s sword that may have been used in the famous 1836 battle.

“We’re pretty excited, we didn’t expect it,” explained Nesta Anderson, the dig’s lead investigator and senior archaeologist at Pape-Dawson Engineers, during a press conference Thursday.

The sword tip was found in the dirt near the possible site of the Alamo’s south wall and gate. The heavily-corroded fragment, which is almost six inches long, was identified by Sam Nesmith of the Texas Museum of Military History.


“It would have been issued to a non-commissioned officer in the Mexican infantry,” said Anderson. The fragment was once part of a French-built sword called a Briquette that was widely used by the Mexican army of that era, she explained.

The Alamo site was first established as a Spanish mission in 1744. Experts are trying to locate the compound’s original walls and gain insight into the site’s history as part of a major excavation project that began July 20.

Briquete, c. 1830, Property of Texas Museum of Military History (Reimagine the Alamo)

Briquete, c. 1830, Property of Texas Museum of Military History (Reimagine the Alamo)

Archaeologists believe that the sword may have been used during fortification of the Alamo in 1835 by Mexican troops under General Martin Perfecto do Cos, prior to its capture by Texan forces that year. Another possibility is that the sword was used when a column of Mexican soldiers attacked the Alamo’s south wall during the 1836 battle, Anderson said.

Anderson explained that archaeologists found a similar sword tip in 2006 at the main plaza in downtown San Antonio that may be associated with the battle of Bejar in December 1835 when Texan forces defeated Mexican troops. Three months later Mexican troops returned to the area and laid siege to the Alamo, which fell on March 6, 1836.

Archeologists recently reported that they may be close to locating the Alamo’s main gate. Experts discovered stones beneath San Antonio’s Alamo Plaza last week that could be associated with the main gate of the 18th century Mision San Antonio de Valero, as the Alamo Mission was originally known. The stones are near the possible site of the Alamo’s south wall and gate, Anderson told this week.

On July 22 archaeologists discovered an adobe wall at another location beneath Alamo Plaza near where historians think the west wall of the complex was built.

The four-week dig is part of ‘Reimagine the Alamo,’ a project to develop a new master plan for the site and its surrounding area.

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