Archaeology class uncovers long-lost ranch homestead in Starr County

6 months 4 days 17 hours ago Wednesday, May 31 2023 May 31, 2023 May 31, 2023 12:45 PM May 31, 2023 in News - Local

SAN ISIDRO - Work is underway in rural Starr County to better understand how 19th century ranching families braved the dry, unforgiving land.

As part of a UTRGV summer program, students are uncovering an old homestead. Three small buildings made up the living space. A long trough was fed by two deep, handmade wells, perhaps 50 feet deep. It's a reflection that life 150 years ago required all sorts of skills.

"You're part stonemason, you're part well builder, you're part architect," UTRGV anthropology professor Edward González-Tennant said.

González-Tennantt is leading the class. It's the first archaeology field school in the Valley since 1976, he said.

Prior to the dig, the well site was covered in soil. Students are meticulously brushing away the dirt to uncover the trough.

"Removing the soil, we're screening it, we're looking for artifacts, we're collecting those artifacts," González-Tennant said.

"Without this, there's no history, there's no life here," González-Tennant said.

He hopes to continue this summer program in upcoming years. 

"We're doing a historical site this year. Maybe we do prehistoric. There's Fort Brown. There are sites out on the coast," González-Tennant said. "There are archaeological sites everywhere and the amount of work there is to do, there's easily a lifetime."

Watch the video above for the full story.

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