The use of Geophysical Survey on Spanish Colonial sites in East Texas and Western Louisiana

George E. Avery, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas


Geophysical Survey techniques such as ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, electronic resistance, and electro-magnetic susceptibility  were used on Spanish Colonial sites of Mission Dolores in San Augustine, Texas, and Los Adaes (Fort and Mission) in Robeline, Louisiana.  Both sites were occupied from 1721-1773.  Los Adaes was also the capital of the Province of Texas.  Sometime the geophysical survey worked great—sometimes it didn’t work so well.  I do not regularly work the machines on the sites.  I go on what the experts tell me.  Overall, in the last 20 years there has been a rise in geophysical survey being done on archaeological sites.  As the techniques get easier and less expensive to use, they are used more frequently.  I was the archaeologist who did the ground-truthing excavations designed to test the anomalies found by the geophysical surveys, and I will also discuss the features and artifacts found during these excavations.