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A Cultural Resource Survey of a 5.8-acre Potential Fort Bend County Tract, Fort Bend County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On May 12, May 13, and June 5, 2015, Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc., conducted a cultural resource investigation of a privately owned 5.8-acre tract of land for the Fort Bend County Facilities Management & Planning Department, Fort Bend County, Texas. The tract is being considered for purchase by Fort Bend County. While Fort Bend County is interested in developing the current 5.8-acre project area, the specifics of this development are, as yet, undetermined.
The objectives of the investigation were threefold: (1) to determine the presence or absence of cultural material within the 5.8-acre Fort Bend County tract; (2) to assess any potentially impacted archeological sites (including previously recorded site 41FB268) and provide recommendations regarding mitigation measures if any are necessary; (3) to provide a report of the results of the survey to Fort Bend County and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The investigations were conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 7274. The archeological field crew consisted of Project Archeologist and Principal Investigator Anastasia Gilmer and Field Technicians Steve Cummins, Abideme Babatunde Babalola, and Thomas Nuckols.
v\An intensive pedestrian field survey of the 2.3 hectare (5.8 acre) project area was conducted, and included both surface and subsurface examination. A total of 46 (30 x 30 centimeter) shovel tests were excavated. In addition, three backhoe trenches were excavated to assist in the in the identification of deeply buried historic-period features such as trash pits and cisterns as well as to identify any prehistoric archeological material along the Brazos River. Although it was determined Site 41FB268 does not appear to extend across the fenceline into the project area, two historic-period sites, 41FB345 and 41FB346, were identified within the project area. 41FB345, the lesser of the two sites, is confined to small, plow-scattered late 19th century artifacts. Due to the disturbance of these materials by the plow zone and the loss of their original context, this site does not appear to possess the potential for future study. Consequently, 41FB345 is not considered eligible as a State Archeological Landmark or for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. No further archeological investigations are recommended at 41FB345.
The site deposits at 41FB346 are well-preserved, contained a moderate density of artifacts, a moderate diversity of artifact types, as well as a collapsed architectural feature. A well and a small brick pavement -- both constructed from hand-made, low-fired brick -- were noted during the pedestrian survey. Shovel testing and backhoe work revealed a brick pavement at 10 cm beneath the surface to the north and east of the well. This subsurface brick pavement is also constructed with hand-made, low-fired brick and probably represents a brick-paved interior of a wooded structure rather than a brick-paved walkway. The early low-fired bricks suggested these features may pre-date 1870, although it seems more likely these bricks were repurposed for a late 19th century structure. This structure appears to be the home of a tenant or servant who was associated with an important family in Texas’s early history. Consequently, it is recommended that testing excavations be conducted at Site 41FB346 prior to any planned construction by Fort Bend County in order to determine if it should be considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. As the tract in currently privately owned and is being considered for purchase by Fort Bend County for eventual development, construction within the project area may not occur. The Facilities & Planning Department may either decide not to purchase the tract of land or to design its developments within the tract to minimize or avoid impact to these archeological resources.
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