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Dig Up Texas History in Virtual Archeology Museum; New Los Adaes Exhibit Tells Story of First Texas Capital

TexasBeyondHistory.net, a virtual museum produced by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) at The University of Texas at Austin, introduced today a new exhibit ‘Los Adaes: 18th-Century Spanish Capital of Texas.’ The exhibit features findings from recent excavations at Adaes site near Robeline, La.

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AUSTIN, Texas—TexasBeyondHistory.net, a virtual museum produced by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) at The University of Texas at Austin, introduced today a new exhibit "Los Adaes: 18th-Century Spanish Capital of Texas." The exhibit features findings from recent excavations at the Los Adaes site near Robeline, La.

"Few Texans know that during Spanish rule, the capital of Texas was actually located in Louisiana," said Steve Black, professional archeologist and co-editor of TexasBeyondHistory.net. "The Los Adaes exhibit explores the story of this forgotten outpost that has come to light from archeological investigations and archival research."

At the time of Los Adaes’ prominence from 1729 to 1770, the Spanish and French vied for control over the territory west of the Mississippi. Though the Spanish crown forbade Los Adaes settlers to engage in commerce with their French rivals, frontier necessity and opportunity led to contraband trade between the Spanish, French and Caddo Indians. 

When Spain abandoned the settlement in 1773, its inhabitants, known as Adaeseños, were forcibly relocated to the new Texas capital, San Antonio. Some descendants of the original Spanish population of Los Adaes now live in Nacogdoches, Texas. The Los Adaes site has proven to be one of the most important archeological sites for the study of colonial Spanish culture and the unique relationship among the Spanish, French and Caddo. 

"We hope the new Los Adaes exhibit and the activities in our virtual museum will spark interest in Texas’ 13,500-year cultural heritage," said Susan Dial, co-editor of TexasBeyondHistory.net. "The interactive time-travel adventures with ‘Dr. Dirt,’ the armadillo archeologist, are a fun way for parents to keep kids learning during the summer, so that when they head back to school in the fall they’ll be ahead of the game. The site also is a great resource for planning day trips to historic sites."

Los Adaes State Historic Site is about 30 miles east of the Texas border and a mile northeast of Robeline on LA 485. In addition to the outline of the presidio, the 14-acre park has hiking trails through the woods and regular interpretive programs. A small museum displays artifacts found in the area. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the site, visit the Louisiana Parks Department.

About TexasBeyondHistory.net
Texas Beyond History’s 50 exhibits with more than 8,500 images are now assigned reading in university classes. The K-12 learning activities cover archeology, history, art and science and include lesson plans that are used by teachers throughout Texas. In 2006, the award-winning site welcomed more than five million virtual visitors from 125 countries.

About the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL)
TARL created TexasBeyondHistory.net in 2001 as a public outreach to share the fruits of 80 years of archeological research from across the state. With more than 50 million artifacts, TARL is the largest and oldest archeological repository in Texas. Fifteen partner institutions and hundreds of archeologists, historians, geologists, botanists, paleontologists, educators, artists and photographers contribute content to the museum.

For more information contact: Susan Dial, co-editor, TexasBeyondHistory.net, 512-471-0963; Jennifer McAndrew, public affairs specialist, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-4730.