SANANTONIO -- One man s graffiti is becoming another'shistoric treasure.

That s the case at the Alamo, where preservationists uncovered some markings that haven t been seen in more than a century.

Officials with the Alamo say workers uncovered some names etched into an archway that lay hidden beneath more than a foot of limestone and debris.

The archway is located in a room known as the temporary sacristy, and was covered up by the U.S. Army back in the 1850s. Back then, soldiers remodeled the place and began using the mission church as a warehouse for grain and other items.

A crack in the wall led historians to the archway, and they had to get a special permit to continue digging inside the historic building.

So much of what we think about the Alamo, we think about the battle (in) 1836. Sometimes we don't think about all the colonial background, said Virginia Van Cleave, from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Alamo committee.

The Alamo s preservationists have become archaeologists.

The engravings give evidence of the 1700s, when Spanish missionaries taught and prayed with native Texans.

Alamo historian and curator Dr. Bruce Winders describes the finding: There's the name Joseph and some other names. We hope to find out a little more about them. (There's)a very small... what looks like a bird. We're thinking that's possibly from the Spanish period as part of a fresco.

In January, the curator plans to set up a live web video feed, allowing everyone virtual access to the site as work continues to unveil the arch.
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