Center for Archaeological Research
During the spring of 2004, the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) of The University of Texas at San Antonio conducted data recovery excavations at site 41PR44 on Fort Wolters. The site had been surveyed and tested by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (Brownlow 2001; Brownlow et al. 1999). The results of that testing suggested that the site contained a high density of burned rock features, chipped stone, and bone that dated to the Late Prehistoric period, with additional material possibly dating to the Late Archaic. Based on the testing, site 41PR44 was recommended as eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D. The site has been directly impacted by military traffic, and secondary erosion associated with a dirt road that cut through the center of the site has further damaged 41PR44. As continued use and maintenance of the road would result in continued erosion of the significant deposits, and as avoidance of this site area was not possible, CAR was contracted by the Adjutant General’s Office of the Texas Military Forces to develop a data recovery plan that targeted critical data from the Late Prehistoric, and potentially earlier, occupations. That plan was produced in early 2004, and field work was undertaken in March and April. The work was conducted under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Texas Military Forces and the Texas Historical Commission.
CAR personnel excavated 46 shovel and hand-auger tests, 24 1-x-1-m units, and cut four backhoe trenches. We defined 12 thermal features in the field, but subsequent analysis reduced this number to three. A variety of artifacts were collected, including large quantities of sandstone and limestone rock, a variety of lithic tools, 883 pieces of chipped stone debitage, sediment samples, and small quantities of bone, charcoal, and mussel shell. We identified several occupation periods at the site, including use of the location during the Late Prehistoric and Late Archaic periods, as well as earlier Archaic use. The distribution of projectile points, as well as the assessment of context by the project geoarchaeologists, demonstrated that several areas of the site were mixed. Nevertheless, we were able to isolate Late Prehistoric, Late Archaic, and Archaic age deposits that were used to explore a variety of research areas, including aspects of subsistence, chipped stone technology, and feature technology. While limited by less than ideal temporal resolution and low recovery rates, the analysis of the 41PR44 data provides a basic description of archaeological material for this understudied portion of Texas.
Following laboratory processing and analysis, and in consultation with both the Texas Military Forces and the Texas Historical Commission, selected samples and certain classes of materials collected from 41PR44 were discarded. This discard was in conformance with Texas Historical Commission guidelines. Material disposed of included all sandstone and limestone rock collected from non-feature contexts, as well as roughly 75% of all feature rock. All sediment samples not associated with features were discarded as were all metal items. All remaining archaeological samples collected by CAR, along with all associated documents, notes, and photographs, were prepared for permanent curation at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory in Austin.
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