Neighborhood Archaeologist Spies Possible Acequia Remnant

The Pajalache or Concepcion acequia path is under S. St Mary’s Street, according to research and a map created by the late Waynne Cox.  It began at the San Antonio River’s bend at La Villita and extended past Mission Concepcion.  

SAWS excavated a utility trench across S. St. Mary’s that may have exposed a remnant of the acequia.  SAWS normally schedules such work with the City’s Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) so that OHP can monitor the excavations to record any historic features that might be encountered, but emergency work often does not get listed with OHP.  

The trench provided an opportunity to see if any trace of the acequia was present.  Noticing that the street had been blocked off and a trench dug across the street, I stopped to take a look.  Several utility lines are beneath the street, but in an undisturbed segment a remnant limestone wall lining the ditch appeared in the trench profile.  I called City Archaeologist Kay Hindes, who came immediately and confirmed my suspicion that the trench had indeed exposed a possible remnant of the acequia.  The evidence was photographed and recorded.  

Twelve thousand years of prehistory and history lie beneath San Antonio’s infrastructure, and any excavation is liable to encounter some evidence of American Indian or Spanish Colonial history.  OHP staff does not always get notified when utility work is done, so everyone needs to be on the look out for opportunities to record San Antonio’s rich past. 

- Harry Shafer

City Archaeologist Kay Hindes and neighborhood
archaeologist Harry Shafer alert SAWS employees that
they may have exposed an historic acequia.

The wall of the acequia can be seen on the left, under the backhoe.