SAN ANTONIO, TX, Aug 2, 2023: More than 1,300 men—a third of the recorded citizens of Texas at the time—died fighting for Mexican Independence in the 1813 Battle of Medina. It might seem that the place of such a significant battle would be well-known and easily found, but changes to roads and land use records combined with the prolonged violence and intimidation of the surviving families have kept the battlefield hidden for more than a century. Experts have searched for it for decades, and now new evidence of a significant battle location has been uncovered and is on display in an exhibit at the Witte Museum.
American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR), an organization that teams military veterans with professional archeologists, and the UTSA Center for Archaeological Research identified a likely site of the Battle of Medina following research by Bruce Moses and Brandon Seale. Through careful fieldwork and after removing several layers of soil and sediment, the “Finding Medina Project” uncovered lead shot remnants, musket balls, grape shot, chain and buckle pieces, which are included in the Witte Museum exhibit.
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis performed by Texas State University’s Center for Archaeological Studies matched the composition of the artifacts with other known artifacts from the period, suggesting probable association with the Battle of Medina.
“The 1813 Battle of Medina devastated generations—the sons, daughters and wives of the men who died in battle,” President and CEO Marise McDermott notes, “And yet we know so little about where it happened. These artifacts are tangible reminders that the battle happened here, with descendants still among us, anxious for new information.”
See these new discoveries, learn about the significance and long-lasting effects of the battle and understand the process used to uncover and analyze these artifacts in the Battle of Medina exhibit, on display now on the second floor of the Robert J. & Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum. For tickets, visit WitteMuseum.org.
Learn more about the search and discoveries in the podcast “A New History of Old Texas.“