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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

The State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (SDHPT) conducted archaeological significance testing at Sites 41FY170 and 41FY509 which are within the right-of-way proposed improvements to State Highway 71 in the vicinity of Plum, a community in Fayette County. As the construction will use federal funding, the testing was undertaken under the guidelines of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and its implementing regulations, 36CFR, Part 800, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Testing at Site 41FY170 revealed both prehistoric and historic artifacts. The prehistoric artifacts, none of which are temporally or culturally diagnostic, indicate that the area was used for the selection and preliminary reduction of chert gravels which occur naturally on the ridge. No stratification within the cultural zone was observed, nor were any cultural features observed. The historic artifacts appear to represent a thin sheet midden of domestic remains, probably dating to the late 1800s and associated with a historic structure on the property.

Test excavations at Site 41FY509 revealed large quantities of cultural debris. However, most consisted of lithic fragments which could not be associated with a particular temporal period or specific cultural group; and those few artifacts that were temporally diagnostic indicated that the site had been occupied (at least intermittently) over a long period of time (from the Paleoindian/Archaic Transition through the Neoarchaic), and that there was neither stratigraphic nor horizontal separation of artifacts from different time periods. No cultural features were located.

Based on the results of the test excavations and subsequent laboratory analysis of recovered materials, neither of the sites is considered to meet the criteria for significance defined in 36CFR, Part 60.4.

Based on these assessments, no additional cultural research is recommended prior to construction activities.

Although there is little or no probability for the presence of significant areas of undisturbed buried cultural remains, there is a slight possibility that small, isolated cultural features may still be present within the area, and thus such features may be encountered during earth-moving operations. Machine operators/supervisors should be alerted to the possibility of such features. If features are encountered, construction should be stopped until qualified archaeologists have had an opportunity to assess the remains.

The probability of encountering such remains is considered too low to warrant archaeological monitoring.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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