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Authors

Andrea Stahman

Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

At the request of Port Freeport and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, PBS&J has conducted a cultural resources survey of a portion of Old Velasco (41BO125), a historic townsite at the current location Brazoria County, Texas. Initially settled by Stephen F. Austin in the 1820s, Old Velasco became an important coastal port and military outpost during the 1830s and early years of the Republic of Texas, but declined during the mid-nineteenth century and was eventually abandoned by the late 1870s. The purpose of the survey was to identify potential impacts from the proposed widening of the Freeport Harbor Ship Channel pursuant to Permit 23752 (COE-VD and Port Freeport). Fieldwork for the project was carried out from October 20 through 22, 2008, under the direction of Michael Nash, Principal Investigator, with the assistance of Historical Archeologist Andrea Stahman.

In total, five trackhoe trenches measuring approximately 60 feet (18.3 meters) long by 2 feet (0.60 meter) wide were excavated to an average depth of 7.4 feet (2.2 meters). Two of the trenches were intentionally placed within historically documented building locations associated with the early Texas town of Old Velasco. As a result, two historic features were identified, one possible builder’s trench and one posthole. A sample of the fill within the possible builder’s trench was hand excavated and screened through ¼-inch mesh, and the fill surrounding the posthole was also investigated by hand.

Features 1 and 2 represent the remains of historic-aged construction within the project area. However, neither contained diagnostic artifacts from the Old Velasco occupation that could offer significant research value. Also neither is unique among the features previously identified at the site; in fact, Feature 2 is 1 of over 300 postholes identified and recorded at 41BO125 (Earls et al. 1996:xvi). Based on their position below the historic cultural zone and their morphology, features 1 and 2 may be associated with buildings or outbuildings connected to the 1838 Velasco Exchange. The lack of diagnostic artifacts makes dating either feature uncertain. Since evidence suggests that the data potential from further investigation of these features is low, the Principal Investigator recommends cultural resource clearance for this project.

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

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