Archaeological Sites Presnall-Watson Homestead

The LHI property contains many archaeological sites, only six of which lie within the Presnall-Watson Homestead District.  The most significant site on LHI property is known as "the Richard Beene site," named for the engineering inspector for the Applewhite Reservoir dam-design firm (also by happenstance an amateur archaeologist)  "who discovered an important deeply buried layer in the footprint of the dam and alerted archaeologists in time to prevent its destruction by heavy machinery."  This site revealed remains of a Native American encampment from almost 8,000 years ago buried about 18 feet below the surface.1, 2

 The Medina River bottoms within LHI offered ideal camping locations for several different Native American groups for at least 10,000 years, beginning long before written history, as evidenced by the findings in these archaeological sites.  For thousands of years, small groups of indigenous people now known as the Coahuiltecans used stones found in Medina River gravel bars for tool making, while sandstone outcrops lining the floodplain provided cook-stone for roasting or baking food.  They hunted in the area, eating largely deer, rabbits, turtles, and river mussels for protein.  They also ate root foods (such as onions, lilies,  wine cup plant tap roots, and false garlic), prickly pear cactus "tunas" (the fruit of the cactus), and hickory nuts.3, 4

 To prevent damage, the archaeological sites on the LHI property have been covered with soil and exact locations are not generally specified.  The hope is that, at a future date, funding will become available and the sites can be fully explored for a more complete understanding of the communities that existed on this property before written history.


1 Alston Thoms, Ph.D. and Jeff Taff, Texas Beyond History, “Richard Beene," "Natural Setting,",  accessed 8/2/2016

2 Alston Thoms, Ph.D. [Address for private use] recorded oral interview by Patricia A. ("Patsy") Kuentz [Address for private use] on June 11, 2016 in San Antonio, TX.  Dr. Thoms spoke from personal knowledge from research he has conducted at the Land Heritage Institute archaeology sites.

3 Texas Historical Commission, Texas Historic Sites Atlas, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Presnall-Watson Homestead District, Sect 7, p. 13

4 Alston Thoms Ph.D. and Jeff Taff, Texas Beyond History, “Richard Beene,” "Natural Setting"

 Patricia A. (Patsy) Kuentz

Historic Farm & Ranch Committee Member

San Antonio Conservation Society

Revised August, 2016