Heritage, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 1994 Page: 14
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Kay Hindes (left), Menard County Judge Otis Lyckman (center), and Kathleen Gilmore (right) examine artifacts found near Menard by the metal detector team.
ourfood, though delicious, was sitting heavy
and promoting somnolence. We shifted
the scene of operations to the Lyckman
place, parking our cars by Monte and Susie
Lyckman's home. The four of us spread out
across the alfalfa field and, each lost in our
own thoughts, began walking east across
the field. As we had expected, surface visibility
was excellent and we immediately
began seeing burned rock and flint flakes,
good evidence for past Indian activity in the
area. Reaching the east end of the field, we
regrouped and were just starting our next
survey sweep back to the west when Kay
leaned over, picked something up and said,
"This is what we're looking for!" We broke
ranks and went over to see what she had
found. It was a sherd of Spanish olive jar, a
thick, coarse type of pottery having a distinctive
light green glaze. The initial find
was marked, and in rapid order, we located
additional pottery, metal artifacts, and other
materials indicating that, without doubt,
we had found a Spanish Colonial site.
As we began looking around more carefully,
we recognized that many rock-like
objects scattered across the surface of the
alfalfa field were actually pieces of burned
daub, some of the bigger ones bearing distinct
impressions of grass, limbs, and posts.
The daub and artifacts were dispersed across
an area measuring about 300 feet east-west
by about 100 feet north-south. Given the
location, the age of the artifacts, and all of
the burned daub, we were reasonably certain
that we had found the Mission Santa
Cruz de San Saba! We reported our find to
Judge and Mrs. Lyckman, who were both
delighted to learn that the mission site was
on their property. The Lyckmans have
been models of support and cooperation
throughout our investigation.
These findings set the stage for a team
of investigators to return to the site in
January 1994, made possible with support
from the Texas Historical Foundation.
The archaeological testing in January was
preceded by a ground-penetrating radar
survey in December. The Lende Foundation
of San Antonio provided funding for
the radar work, and the survey was carried
out by Dr. David Brown. Brown and his
team detected numerous anomalies in the
site area, most of which remain to be
investigated. A week of intensive testing
at the site began on January 8 with the
arrival of a team of metal detector operators
from San Antonio led by Tommy Tomesal.
These people, all avocational archaeologists
belonging to the Southern Texas Archaeological
Association, had previous experience
in metal detector surveys on historic
sites under the supervision of Anne Fox.
They worked for two days systematically
sweeping the ground within a grid of five
meter squares we had set out on the site
surface. Amidst a great number of ring pulls,
barbed wire staples, tractor parts, and ear
tags for goats labeled "O. Lyckman",
Tomesal's team found 130 metal objects
dating to the Spanish Colonial occupation
of this site. Chief among the finds were
handwrought iron nails ranging in size from
tacks all the way up to big spikes. A number
of spent lead musket balls were found,
consistent with expectations for a place
that was attacked by Indians armed with
French musketry. The one find made by the
metal detector crew that caused the greatest
excitement was a brass religious medallion.
It needs cleaning, but appears to depict the
infant Jesus on one side and possibly an
image of the Virgin Mary on the other. Such
medallions were given to Indian converts,
14 HERITAGE * SPRING 1994
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 1994, periodical, Spring 1994; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45413/m1/14/: accessed May 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.