Texas Almanac, 2004-2005 Page: 29
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In 1968, several years after the site
had become part of a Chambers County
park, a group of amateur archaeologists
did a haphazard excavation at the site,
but no serious archaeology was
attempted until 2001, when the county
government asked the Texas Historical
Commission to survey the park with a
magnetometer to try to ascertain the
fort's exact location. The magnetome-
ter found the foundations of about half
the fort - enough to determine that it
had been diamond-shaped - and one
of its bastions.
Texas Historical Commission
archaeologist James Bruseth recom-
mended to the Chambers County com-
missioners court that it conduct
archaeological testing to determine
how much of the fort could be found
and preserved. He also recommended
the construction of an interpretive
museum and, perhaps, a replica of the
original fort. The county engaged
Hicks & Company, an Austin environ-
mental consulting firm, to test the site. A series of brick-
"Our test excavation confirmed (above). They w
what everybody suspected the configu- designed to drain
which has evolve
ration of the fort was," says Rachel evolve
Feit, the Hicks archaeologist who directed the work.
"We found a number of construction techniques."
"One wall in the plaza was constructed of brick rub-
ble. We don't know what it was, whether it was a corral
or a hospital. We found a series of brick-lined aqueducts
or drains that would have been built below the surface of
the plaza. Recent excavations have revealed that these
features were designed to drain water away from the
fort, rather than catch water within it."
Since souvenir hunters had picked over the site for
so many years, the archaeologists initially found few
artifacts to offer clues to the functions of the fort's vari-
ous structures. However, the most recent excavations did
reveal a well-preserved outbuilding feature with an
intact floor surface.
Artifacts picked up from this surface included a
large number of cut nails, ceramics, a gun flint and a
Mexican uniform button. The building is thought to have
had wood-frame walls and featured a front porch facing
the water. Archeologists believe that it might be a cus-
toms house or the jail.
Beanie Rowland, chair of the Chambers County His-
torical Commission, says the county is trying to raise
grant money for further archaeology and to draw up
architectural plans for the proposed museum.
"Anahuac was important to Texas history," she says.
"We want to show schoolchildren where the first shot of
the Texas Revolution was fired. We want them to be able
to imagine, looking out over the bluff, that first customs
house on the Trinity River. We want to let them relive
Bryan Woolley is a senior writer for The Dallas Morn-
ing News and a novelist.
lined aqueducts or drains have been uncovered at Fort Anahuac
ould have been built below the surface of the plaza and were
water away from the fort. Below is a plan map of the fort's walls,
d during excavation. Photos courtesy of Hicks & Company
For Further Reading:
"Fort Anahuac: Birthplace of the Texas Revolu-
tion" by Carroll A. Lewis Jr.; Texana, Vol. VI, No. 1,
Texian Press, Waco, 1968.
The New Handbook of Texas, Ron Tyler, editor in
chief; Texas State Historical Association, Austin, 1996.
Juan Davis Bradburn: A Reappraisal of the Mexi-
can Commander of Anahuac by Margaret Swett Hen-
son; Texas A&M University Press, College Station,
The Texas Almanac 1857-1873: A Compendium of
Texas History compiled by James M. Day; Texian Press,
Fort Anahuac: Archeological Testing at a Mexican
Era Fort in Chambers County Texas by Rachel Feit
and John W. Clark; Hicks & Company, Austin, 2003.
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Alvarez, Elizabeth Cruce. Texas Almanac, 2004-2005, book, 2004; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth162511/m1/29/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.