Post by alamoglenn on Oct 27, 2018 22:11:55 GMT -5
Does anyone know if the Alamo conservators, consultants, and archaeologists have used GPR (ground penetrating radar) on the church's walls, interior and exterior, to see if they can distinguish "old" walls from "new" ones? I've also wondered if anyone has used aerial lidar to see and mark the mission's latent walls beneath the current ground level. For example, lidar might reveal the precise location of the plaza well--and perhaps answer a million other questions that remain unanswered about the compound. My guess is that the answers to both of these questions is no, but I sure would like to know for sure. There's even a chance that a satellite photo of the site might reveal the dimensions of the original and/or later fortified compound. Glenn
I don't know how archaeological projects come into being at the Alamo. It seems that various institutions -- including the University of Texas San Antonio’s Center for Archaeology Research, the City of San Antonio, and others -- decide to fund (my guess is through grants) to conduct an excavation at the Alamo, no doubt in cooperation with the administrators of the site. While GPR has been used to survey what anomalies might be found under the ground of the church and the compound, it would also make sense for an archaeological team to use technology to study the walls of the church and the convento, a study that could potentially reveal construction and "reconstruction" techniques, besides a wealth of other information, including unknowns. GPR technology has been used at ancient sites in Europe and the Middle East to reveal cavities and the details of stonework. There are not only the "lawnmower" types of GPR for topology but also hand-held devices for walls. I'm not an archaeologist, although I worked with several archaeological teams in Rhode Island and Massachusetts when my specialty was the history of Indian-white relations in early New England. Nevertheless, I am a "Time Team" addict on Amazon Prime, and I marvel at the technological advances the in the practice and study of archaeology that the series demonstrates. GPR has also been very successful in the examination of surviving walls in Egypt and elsewhere. No, I don't own shares in a GRP company. But I wish someone would step forward, during this era of the Master Plan, to undertake salient excavations and wall investigations at the Alamo. Pamela Rosser's work has been significant as a consultant and the Alamo's conservator, but I don't know of any formal report that's been made on the Sacristy frescoes or the other work she's engaged in. In my humble opinion, as we near the twentieth anniversary of the discovery of the frescoes in 2000, it certainly seems like a major report on infrared studies and other scientific techniques used in the church is long overdue. All I've been able to find are the informative articles written by Scott Huddleston for the San Antonio Express-News. If I'm missing something, let me know. Glenn
Post by alamoglenn on Jan 11, 2019 18:13:49 GMT -5
Over the past few months, I've been able to answer my own question.
For more than 20 years, a surprisingly large number of digital Alamo projects have been done or are underway. GPR studies are the least of what's been going on at the Alamo. A mammoth consortium has been established to study nearly every inch of the Alamo by using cutting edge technology. The partnership consists of Texas state and local government agencies, colleges and universities, technological companies, individual experts, and an immense number of donors. All of this great effort is being coordinated by the Alamo's full-time conservator, Pamela Jary Rosser. Eventually Texas A&M's Center for Historic Conservation will become the home of an Alamo database that Can Be Used By the public and researchers. It is safe to say that this enormous project may be the greatest undertaking of its kind in the country. To get an understanding of the technological scope of the Alamo's conservation, see the informative videos at one.arch.tamu.edu/news/2015/1/15/heritage-symposium/
Last Edit: Jan 14, 2019 9:35:09 GMT -5 by alamoglenn: Shortened by alamoGlenn
Post by mjbrathwaite on Jan 15, 2019 16:35:12 GMT -5
You may be able to answer a question I've had for some time: I'm wondering how many entrances there were from the chapel courtyard and, in particular, if the low barracks had a door opening on to the courtyard. Thanks for any help you can give.
Post by alamoglenn on Jan 17, 2019 21:44:42 GMT -5
Hello New Zealand! If, by the "chapel courtyard" you mean the area defined by the church on the east, the connecting wall and convento on the north, the palisade on the south, and the low barracks and low wall on the west, then I can answer your question, but it would have been easier to show you with an illustration. Unfortunately the forum's limit for illustrations has been reached, so no one right now can add any image attachments.
In 1836, the only openings onto the church courtyard were four: one door at the southeast corner of the convento; a blocked gateway in the connecting wall between the convento and the church; the main doorway to the church, partially blocked by adobe bricks or sandbags; and a small gate at the eastern edge of the palisade, at the point where it met the southwest corner of the church. There were no doors in the low barracks that opened into the church courtyard. I hope this helps.
Glenn, unfortunately one of the big handicaps of the proboards platform is that its photo-hosting capacity is quite limited, and it was expended a few years ago when some members started using that feature excessively. It would cost money to upgrade the storage capacity; Jim B. threw the idea out there, but nobody ran with it. If I had the time, I'd go into old posts and weed out photos to make more space. One can always post photos here using a third-party host, like photobucket. You just need to insert a link to the photo in the post.
Post by alamoglenn on Jan 18, 2019 22:15:21 GMT -5
It occurred to me that what you actually wanted to know is if any GPR surveys have revealed a doorway from the low barracks into the courtyard. So far as I know they have not. But I also don't know the results of the most recent GPR survey done in 2016. TRK reported in a recent post that the 2016 findings have not been published yet, but some good pictures are at
Seeing as the 2016 field excavation was of the southwest corner of the compound, it would seem that the low barracks was probably out of its reach. Nevertheless, some of the photos show the archaeologists pushing a GPR unit (looks like a lawn mower) across the courtyard. We'll have to wait for the report to be issued.
A lively discussion about the low barracks as depicted by artists such as Eastman and Lee is located on the Wayneamo forum. Search for "low barrack." No one involved in that discussion mentioned a doorway leading from the low barracks into the church courtyard.
Again, I hope this is of some help.
Last Edit: Jan 19, 2019 12:28:18 GMT -5 by alamoglenn
Post by mjbrathwaite on Jan 22, 2019 17:10:51 GMT -5
Thanks Glenn. You've told me exactly what I wanted to know. I've been trying to work out where the post-battle executions took place. It's been a while since I've looked into it, but now I can look over the material again. I'd been wondering if Castrillon had taken the survivors from the low barracks through a door to the courtyard, but now it's obvious that's not what happened.