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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) conducted archeological significance testing at site 41EC7, which is within the right-of-way of a proposed portion of Loop 338, southwest of Odessa in Ector County. The testing was undertaken in compliance with the Texas Antiquities Code, as construction will be undertaken with state funds.

When recorded in November 1992, by TxDoT archeologists conducting a cultural resources survey of the right-of-way for the proposed Loop, the site was noted to consist of a thin scatter of fire-cracked rock and occasional chert flakes spread along the north side of Monahans Draw for a distance of over 3000 meters; but, no chert flakes were found within the right-of-way.

The testing was conducted between March 9 and 17, 1993 under the supervision of G. R. Dennis Price. Approximately 337 work-hours were expended in testing and recording at the site.

Approximately eleven cubic meters of fill from twenty 1 x 1 meter test units was hand excavated and screened through 1/4-inch hardware cloth. A gross (144) of shovel tests approximately 30 x 30 cm in plan were also dug. Depths varied from as little as S cm to over 75 cm, depending on depth of bedrock. Fill was screened through 1/4-inch hardware cloth. Finally, three backhoe trenches, each approximately 1 meter in width and over 20 meters in length were also excavated to bedrock.

The only definite cultural remains recovered from the site consist of an edge-modified flake (perhaps a fragment of a scraper) and two chert chips. None of these artifacts can be associated with a particular time period or a particular culture. The artifacts were widely distributed across the area that was tested, so that no discrete locus of occupation or activity could be determined. Further, because of the distances between the artifacts, it is possible that they are not related to a single occupation or event.

Burned caliche observed primarily within a hundred or so feet of Monahans Draw may be the result of deliberate prehistoric human activity. However, no discrete hearths or well defined concentrations were observed, neither were any chert flakes.

Based on the general absence of cultural material recovered from the testing, it is believed that the portion of the reported site within the highway right-of-way does not meet the criteria of significance for State Archeological Landmark status.

Thus, it is recommended that highway construction should be allowed to proceed with no additional cultural resources research.

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