Los Adaes Today
Closing the Fort and Mission
The Adaeseños
Departure of the Caddo
Excavations at Los Adaes
Visiting Los Adaes
Excavations at Los Adaes
Only 5% of the entire Los Adaes site has been excavated. Archaeologists love to excavate, but even careful digging is destructive. That is why archaeologists so meticulously record information as they dig. Excavations at Los Adaes have focused on areas that were already disturbed, or that were going to be disturbed. Excavations in other areas have been limited. For example, the excavations in the mission area were only small tests. Archaeological techniques continue to improve. It is likely that some day—with the help of ground penetrating recording techniques—archaeologists can precisely record all the features and artifacts in the ground without digging. So this is why archaeologists dig only a little at a time in areas that are protected, like Los Adaes.
Archaeological excavations underway at Los AdaesStudent notebook  
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Excavation Results
Archaeologists at Los Adaes have identified portions of the fort’s walls and bastions, and three structures outside the presidio. Other findings were a possible blacksmith area near the southwest bastion of the presidio and a workshop, defined by an area of ash and gun parts, just outside the presidio wall, near the governor’s house. In preliminary testing of the mission area, archaeologists found a possible burial pit, but it was not excavated. The remains of a kitchen were just south of the eastern bastion. This kitchen area had postmolds surrounding a large pit. Postmolds show where wall posts once stood. After the posts rotted or burned, they left a darker color and texture in the soil. The large pit probably was for cooking, and it had three layers of sand inside. It had been used, cleaned out, lined with sand, and used again. The outline of the postmolds around the cook pit does not match the orientation of buildings in this area on the 1767 Urrutia map. Perhaps this kitchen was torn down before that time. There were no artifacts with a beginning date after 1767 in the kitchen area. Archaeologists excavated the remains of a probable small house to the west of the presidio. They found the rectangular outline of postmolds and a dirt floor. Artifacts made after 1770, such as a type of French pottery called Rouen Polychrome, were in this building. Like the kitchen, the small house west of the presidio was not oriented like the buildings in the same area on the 1767 Urrutia map. It is possible that this structure was built after 1770. Archival records say that three French traders and their wives remained at Los Adaes after it was closed in 1773. This western structure may be the house of one of these French traders.
Suggested Reading
Gregory, Hiram F. 1983 Los Adaes, the Archaeology of an Ethnic Enclave. In Historical Archaeology of the Eastern United States, edited by Robert W. Neuman. School of Geoscience, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

Gregory, Hiram F., George Avery, Aubra L. Lee, and Jay C. Blaine 2004 Presidio Los Adaes: Spanish, French, and Caddoan Interaction on the Northern Frontier. Historical Archaeology 38(2).