Texas Historical Commission
Prewitt and Associates, Inc. conducted testing and data recovery investigations at five archeological sites in the city of New Braunfels, in Comal County, Texas. The work was done in August and September 2005 for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for its Clear Springs Autotransformer Project, which involves the replacement of high-voltage electrical transmission towers through the New Braunfels area. A transmission tower location at prehistoric site 41CM286, located on an upland ridge overlooking the Guadalupe River, was investigated with a shovel test. Deposits were limited to 10 cm overlying bedrock limestone. In a preliminary report, the site was recommended to be potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) and for designation as State Archeological Landmarks (SAL), but it was recommended that no additional investigations were necessary because the shallow deposits at the tower location contained no significant archeological deposits. A transmission tower location at prehistoric site 41CM287, located in an alluvial floodplain of a tributary to the Guadalupe River, was investigated using a shovel test to 105 cm and hand augering to 190 cm. Although prehistoric remains were encountered, the deposits were extensively disturbed. In a preliminary report, the site was recommended to be potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) and for designation as State Archeological Landmarks (SAL), and it was recommended that the transmission tower location could be drilled if monitored by an archeologist. Historic archival and oral history research was conducted for 41CM288, which consists of a historic trash dump and brick incinerator building with a tall smokestack. The site is on the Comal County Fairgrounds in New Braunfels, and research indicates that the city built the incinerator in the 1930s for disposal of urban household garbage. Archeological monitoring of the drill hole excavation at the LCRA tower location revealed that the trash deposits date to the early to middle 20th century and are associated with the city incinerator. In a preliminary report, the trash dump component was recommended to be not eligible for listing in the National Register or for designation as a SAL. The incinerator building and smokestack are in very good condition, but they will not be impacted by the LCRA project. A complete National Register and SAL assessment of the incinerator would require additional archival research to provide a historic contextual framework. Archeological testing was done at the Comal Power Plant site (41CM25) and the Landa Park Golf Course site (41CM167), both located on the broad Holocene alluvial terrace of the Comal River. At each site, the testing was expanded into a 2x2-m excavation block to constitute data recovery at the proposed tower location. Both sites contain deep, stratified deposits indicative of prehistoric base camp activities spanning from the Middle Archaic through Late Prehistoric periods. In a preliminary report, it was recommended that both sites are eligible for listing in the National Register and for designation as SALs, but that the excavations constituted mitigation of construction impacts. Three prehistoric components were identified within 150 cm of alluvial deposits at 41CM25, and three prehistoric components were identified within 190 cm of alluvial deposits at 41CM167. These components are defined, somewhat arbitrarily, as Archaic I, Archaic II, and Late Prehistoric, and these units are not correlated between the sites. Hand auger cores provided samples down to 330 cm at 41CM167, but these sparse cultural materials are not assigned to an analytical unit. The diagnostic artifacts recovered from 41CM25 are bone-tempered pottery and points typed as Early Triangular, Marcos, Montell, Pedernales, Perdiz, and reworked Andice. The diagnostic artifacts recovered from 41CM167 are Early Triangular, Edgewood, and Perdiz points. The cultural deposits at both sites span a long period of time and represent materials accumulated on a slowly aggrading xii surface. Both sites have some evidence of mixing of deposits or cultural reuse of older materials. No samples suitable for radiocarbon dating were recovered from 41CM25, so the ages of components there are not well defined. Four charcoal radiocarbon dates for 41CM167 demonstrate that 330 cm of alluvium was deposited within at least the last 4,500 years. The Late Prehistoric components at both sites probably represent Toyah phase occupations, and there seems to be an Early Triangular component at 41CM167. The cultural affiliations of the other components are less certain. All of the archeological and historic investigations for sites 41CM25, 41CM167, 41CM286, 41CM287, and 41CM288 were previously described in a preliminary report, and the LCRA and Texas Historical Commission concurred with the recommendations stated above. The construction of transmission towers has since been completed at all of the investigated sites, and the drill hole excavations were monitored to provide additional archeological and geological data. It is recommended that the testing and data recovery investigations mitigate the construction effects for LCRA’s Clear Springs Autotransformer Project, and no further work is recommended for any of these sites in response to the Clear Springs Autotransformer Project.
Cite this Record
Dockall, John E.; Boyd, Douglas K.; and Kittrell, Lannie Ethridge
"Geoarcheological and Historical Investigations in the Comal Springs Arrea, LCRA Clear Springs Autotransformer Project, Comal County, Texas,"
Index of Texas Archaeology: Open Access Gray Literature from the Lone Star State: Vol. 2006,
Article 25. https://doi.org/10.21112/ita.2006.1.25
Available at: https://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/ita/vol2006/iss1/25
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