About the Project

IMG_3639-COLLAGESince January 2013, Ruth Van Dyke of Binghamton University has been directing archaeological field research on the property of the Castro Colonies Living History Center (Jacob Biry House), 309 Paris Street, in Castroville, Texas. The property is owned by the City of Castroville, and it is leased to the Castro Colonies Heritage Association. There are two standing structures on the property – a historic rock house, and a historic log cabin. A stone smokehouse foundation is also visible on the property, and numerous subterranean features are located in the backyard. The CCHA plans to renovate the buildings and create a living history center. The archaeological research, which has continued during two field seasons in 2014 and 2015, is assisting towards this endeavor.

About the Archaeology


This research is ongoing!  In 2013, we probed the yard around the house to locate 9 subsurface archaeological features, and we collected tree-ring samples from the log house. In 2014, we excavated backyard features, including five privies, a well, and a lime-slacking pit, in order to recover material evidence of what life was like in the 19th and early 20th century at the site.  We also excavated along the foundation of the house to learn more about how and when it was built.  In 2015, our excavations focused on the inside of the structure, investigating beneath the floorboards to find evidence of earlier structures and to collect materials from the occupation of the house that were under the wooden floor.   We also placed units in the log house during the 2015 field season.  Planning for further excavation is underway for 2016, so please stay tuned!

About Us

Dr. Ruth Van Dyke
Professor of Anthropology, Binghamton University
Project Director

Erin Whitson
PhD Student, Binghamton University

Patricia Markert
PhD Student, Binghamton University