At the Alamo Wednesday morning the grounds were swarming with summertime tourist. Cameron Young and her mother, who drove down from Temple, were among those at the site in downtown San Antonio. They came to see what they've only read about in history books.
"It’s a little bit of an eye opening experience when you walk in, to actually see it in person, versus everything you see on TV and stuff,” said Aisha Young.
Across the street from the iconic mission, just out of view of the tourist, a team of archaeologist has started digging through concrete and stone. They're looking for the remnants of an outer wall that was used to repeal the advance of Santa Anna as he tried to put down the rebellion in Texas.
"We are very, very, excited. This is one of those big ones that comes along once in a lifetime, so we are all very excited to be part of this team,” said Lead Archeologist Nesta Anderson.
The dig is expected the last only 3 to 4 weeks. What they find will help officials at the Alamo develop a new master plan.
"This archaeology dig is critical to Texas history, I think a lot is going to be talked about for a long time on this dig,” said Alamo Director Becky Dinnin.
Finding the outer walls may help provide some new perspective which currently you'll only get by looking at old maps and models.
A diorama in the History Shop of San Antonio offers a view what the compound once looked like. For visitors, the model not only provides scale, but also a better understanding of the impossible task faced by the defenders.
"I’ve never seen the whole Alamo, I just associated that front church with it, that was it, and it explains everything, where they came in what they did its very, very, interesting,” said Ruth Anne Chrustawka who was visiting from North Texas.
A hole dug into the floor at the History Shop about 8 years ago, uncovered several artifacts, according to the manager. They found cannonballs, horse shoes, part of a bayonet and even bone. A block away, similar discoveries may now await those taking part in the new search.
"Should human remains be found we have a treatment protocol in place and we will follow that, everything is to be treated with respect, whether its human remains or artifacts, we are consciences that we are stewards of the people of Texas,” said Anderson.
The Dig Team also hopes the search will yield new information about the people who live near the site before the arrival of the Catholic priests who established the mission.