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Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055

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Third Thursday of each month
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:45 pm

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HAS MONTHLY MEETING 21st November, 2019

"Dumped and Forgotten: Civil War Artifacts Under the Milam Street Bridge" - Joshua Farrar

Joshua Farrar
The November meeting of the Houston Archeological Society will be held on Thursday, November 21st at 6:30 p.m. at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center located at 1414 Wirt Road in West Houston. HAS member and current Texas A & M University doctoral student, Joshua Farrar, will present a program highlighting activities in Houston during the Civil War entitled Dumped and Forgotten: Civil War Artifacts Under the Milam Street Bridge. The meeting is free of charge and open to the public.

Buffalo Bayou has connected Houston, Texas to Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico since Houston’s founding in 1837. During the American Civil War of 1861-65, Houston served as a storehouse for weapons, ammunition, food, clothing, and other supplies destined for the war effort in Galveston and the rest of the Confederacy. Near the end or soon after the Civil War ended, Confederate material supplies were lost or abandoned in Buffalo Bayou under the Milam Street Bridge in Houston.

In 1968, the Southwestern Historical Exploration Society (SHES) recovered around 1000 artifacts with an 80-ton dragline crane operated off the Milam Street Bridge. About 650 artifacts from this collection were recently rediscovered in file boxes at the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park and processed and catalogued by members of the Houston Archeological Society. Josh Farrar is writing his dissertation on this collection which is entitled The Milam Street Bridge Artifact Assemblage: An Artifact and Document-Based Study and Presentation of Lessons-Learned Concerning the American Civil War and the City of Houston, Texas. This dissertation explores Houston’s Civil War past. As part of his dissertation research, Josh conserved the Milam Street Bridge artifacts at the Texas A & M Conservation Lab for a museum exhibit at the Heritage Society Museum at Sam Houston Park entitled Dumped and Forgotten Below the Milam Street Bridge which utilized the Milam Street Bridge Artifact Assemblage as a centerpiece for exploring Civil War-era Houston. Some of these artifacts are currently on display at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

This presentation serves as an artifact and document-based study using newspaper accounts, sworn statements, and archaeological reports to reconstruct the history of the Civil War in Houston and of the Milam Street Artifact Assemblage – from abandonment in the bayou to rediscovery at the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park. Through document and GIS map analysis, three theories are proposed and critically analyzed concerning how and why these artifacts were lost in Buffalo Bayou. Issues and ethical stances surrounding the documentation, preservation, conservation, and continued collections management of historical artifacts are presented based on lessons-learned during work on this artifact assemblage.

Josh Farrar is an Instructor of Anthropology at Blinn Community College and Lecturer/PhD Candidate at Texas A&M University. Additionally, Josh is an officer in the Texas Army National Guard and a member of the Houston Archeological Society. Josh lives in Bryan, Texas with his wife and two daughters.

Our monthly “Show and Tell” display will begin at 6:30 andand will include a display of Civil War artifacts recovered in the Houston area. Please join us! The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Please join us! If you have any questions about this meeting, please contact HAS President, Linda Gorski, at


HAS Journal No. 141 is now available. Complimentary copies may be obtained by HAS members at the monthly meetings. Non-HAS members may purchase copies through Go to the HAS Journals Section for a link to the publication on the website. Alternatively, copies may be purchased at the HAS Monthly Meetings.

HAS REPORT #32 (Historic Munitions in Texas: A Reference Guide) NOW AVAILABLE

Report #32 – Historic Munitions in Texas: A Reference Guide. This Report consists of several articles on munitions that have been written by Tom Nuckols for the Houston Archeological Society newsletter over approximately the past four years. The articles reflect the analysis and interpretation of artifacts found during excavations and survey projects while Tom Nuckols was working as a member of HAS, THC and as a contractor working for a Cultural Resource Management company. This publication is available free to members of the Society. Members should make sure that they collect their copy of this report at the next monthly meeting. If you wish to purchase additional copies then you can find them on You can find the appropriate links in our List section.

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