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Agency

TxDOT

Abstract

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plans improvements to Farm-to-Market road (FM) 1464 between Stratford Creek Drive and Oyster Creek, Sugar Land, Texas, in eastern Fort Bend County, southwest of downtown Houston. Those proposed improvements will expand the FM 1464 right-of-way about 20 feet eastward into an approximately 328-foot length adjacent to New Home Cemetery (41FB334), which is at the intersection of FM 1464 and Orchard Lake Estates Drive.

Geo-Marine was contracted by TxDOT to search, exhume, analyze, and rebury any human remains found within the right-of-way and under the existing roadbed of FM 1464. From mid-November to mid-December 2010, Geo-Marine conducted Phase I fieldwork—the archaeological search, exhumation, and analysis of multiple historic graves. A total of 24 unmarked burials—11 complete skeletons and 13 partial—was recovered. The comprehensive osteological analyses, which included the identification of sex, age, ethnicity, pathology, nutrition, and other health history, plus possible/probable cause of death, revealed that these individuals were engaged in an active lifestyle, mostly associated with physical labor that led to severe physical pain and suffering, and at times early death. During Phase I, analyses of funerary materials, including markers, burial containers, casket handles, plaques, nails, and thumbscrews, was undertaken to determine typology, material, and timeframe. Based on the funerary analyses, the timeframe for the burials ranged from 1895 through the late 1960s. Additionally, a small area containing prehistoric materials was also encountered, but the historic cemetery did not appear to overlap.

On May 2, 2011, Phase II of the project began with the systematic scraping of the area located under the old roadbed. No burials or human remains were encountered during that phase. On May 9, 2011, the 24 individuals removed and recorded during Phase I were reinterred, along with all associated funerary objects, furnishings, and all associated artifacts, within the existing New Home Cemetery.

Licensing Statement

This is a work for hire produced for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which owns all rights, title, and interest in and to all data and other information developed for this project under its contract with the report producer. The report may be cited and brief passages from this publication may be reproduced without permission provided that credit is given to TxDOT and the firm that produced it. Permission to reprint an entire chapter, section, figures or tables must be obtained in advance from the Supervisor of the Archeological Studies Branch, Environmental Affairs Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701

 

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