The Texas Historical Commission (THC) excavated two of Texas' most important archeological sites relating to the famous French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who in 1684 led an ill-fated expedition to establish a French colony on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
In the summer of 1874, the U.S. Army launched a major campaign against the Southern Plains Indians in an attempt to permanently remove indigenous tribes from the region. Recognizing the historical significance of the battle sites, the THC initiated the Red River War Battle Sites Project to precisely locate and document the more significant sites; to nominate sites for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places; and to evaluate each of the sites for heritage-tourism potential.
The shipwrecks were “lost” for the next 410 years until accidentally discovered in 1964 by amateur diver Vida Lee Connor during an aerial reconnaissance project searching for offshore reefs. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has been involved in investigations of the 1554 Spanish Plate Fleet since 1969—more than 50 years—and celebrated the semicentennial of the agency’s underwater excavations in 2022.
If you have questions about this resource, please contact the Archeology Division using the information listed here.
P.O. Box 12276
Austin, TX 78711