Message #51 From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 19:53:30 Subject: Rediscovery of Santa Cruz de San Saba [ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] : http://www.history.swt.edu/Catholic_Southwest.htm http://www.history.swt.edu/CSW/volume8/volume8.htm V. Kay Hindes, Mark R. Wolf, Grant D. Hall, and Kathleen Kirk Gilmore, with Spanish document translation by Philip A. Dennis. The Rediscovery of Santa Cruz de San Saba, A Mission for the Apache in Spanish Texas [San Saba Regional Survey Report I]. Austin: Texas Historical Foundation and Texas Tech University, 1995. Pp. viii, 94. $15. paper. This publication will be of interest to all lovers of Texas history and the history of our Spanish Colonial period. The mission site "disappeared" a little over one hundred years ago and had been the subject of several attempts to locate it during the past thirty years. The brief history of the Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba is covered in detail. The mission was founded in April 1757 as a joint effort of the Colleges of San Fernando de Mexico and Santa Cruz de Queretaro. Located in a newly explored area northwest of San Antonio in the San Saba River Valley, the mission was one of the last of more than thirty-five missions established by the Spanish in Texas for the purpose of Christianizing the Indians. The specific purposes of this mission were the conversion of the Apache Indians, suppression of raids by the Comanche and other Northern Indian tribes, and as an outpost against possible French encroachments. Efforts to attract the Apaches or other Indians failed and the priests from the College of Santa Cruz de Queretaro abandoned the mission in late 1757 leaving three priests from the College of San Fernando de Mexico behind. On 16 March 1758 the mission complex was attacked and burned by an estimated 2,000 Comanche Indians, killed eight of the approximately thirty priests, soldiers, auxiliaries, and family members that were in the compound at the time. The survivors escaped to the nearby Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas. The mission was never rebuilt and efforts to convert the Indians in the area were abandoned. The mission buildings were of a wattle and daub construction which is a closely spaced wood framework covered in an adobe-like mud. The buildings were burned to the ground by Indians and this combined with time and the elements obliterated surface traces of the mission site. After the Presidio was abandoned, it was approximately one hundred years before the area was resettled. These factors all combined to cause the mission site to become lost. The publication's tables and appendixes include names, occupations, and dispositions of the occupants of the mission at the time of the Indian attack as well as itemization of equipment and supplies original to the mission, including their cost. One appendix gives translations of Spanish documents relating to the mission's history and some events subsequent to the Indian attack. Of particular archeological interest are the descriptions of the multi-disciplinary methodology used to locate the mission site. The use and results of resources ranging from information obtained through Spanish archival records and previous research to aerial surveys and ground penetrating radar are described and explained. Like pieces of a large puzzle, these clues all come together and the actual site was located with minimal field work. The well-written and easily read text is generously supported with numerous photographs, tables, charts, maps, and site plots. The photographs include both those of the site and archeological works as well as the numerous artifacts recovered. Detailed descriptions of many of the most significant artifacts are given in support of the photographs. Other appendixes include a Spanish vocabulary and the lot number/provenance usually found in archeological reports. An eight and one half by eleven format was used by the publisher which allows better definition of some of the figures and photographs. The authors suggest the same multidisciplinary approach they used can be adapted to find other locations. As they conclude, "The mission's location was never truly 'lost.' It only remained to be rediscovered." Hal Cherry Texas Old Missions and Forts Restoration Association.