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Archaeological Survey of the Proposed American Electric Power Fort Lancaster to Friend Ranch Substation Transmission Line, Pecos, Crockett, and Terrell Counties, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
At the request of American Electric Power, Blanton & Associates, Inc., conducted a non-collection archaeological survey for the proposed Fort Lancaster to Friend Ranch 138kV Transmission Line in Crockett, Pecos and Terrell Counties, Texas. The right-of-way extends from the existing Fort Lancaster substation in Pecos County on old Highway 290 near the Pecos River Bridge to the existing Friend Ranch substation on Interstate 10 a few miles east of Ozona. The total length of the final proposed right-of-way is approximately 43.5 miles with an 80-foot corridor except for a short segment east of the Pecos where it will be 300 feet as the line climbs the steep slopes of the Pecos River valley wall. An irregular area whose dimensions are 635 by 430 feet, totaling 5.49 acres, was surveyed at the Fort Lancaster substation. The final configuration of the right-ofway, including the substation, consists of approximately 437 acres. Several previous configurations of the proposed line within lands owned by the University of Texas were subjected to survey and later excluded from the project. The longest of these, well to the south of the new proposed line, is a 9.92-mile long segment (96.19 acres). Two other small reroutes bypassed small sections totaling 1.7 miles (16.48 acres). Archaeological sites recorded on the previously surveyed routes are included in this report but are no longer a management issue since they will in no way be affected by construction.
A 100% pedestrian survey was conducted during the fall and winter of 2003-2004 along the entire right-of-way. Although much of the line crosses exposed bedrock, or very shallow ancient soils, shovel tests were excavated where surface visibility was low or where site burial was possible. Backhoe trenches were excavated in select areas within the lower terraces and floodplain of the Pecos in the western portion of the project area. Neither shovel tests nor trenching was considered necessary in the far western portion of the project area because the ground surface visibility was very good as well as the fact that much of that section of the survey corridor was on high terraces, ridges and hills above the Pecos with little to no soil depth.
Thirty-four new archaeological sites were recorded (41CX918-41CX950, 41PC575) and four previously recorded sites (41CX1, 41CX2, 41CX232, and 41CX917) were revisited as a result of the survey All the sites are prehistoric though a few have historic components as well. Of the total 38 sites, seven were removed from further consideration due to reroutes of the proposed transmission line (41CX937, 41CX945- 41CX950), three did not extend into the proposed right-of-way (41CX2, 41CX927, and 41CX939), and the remaining 29 fall within the final configuration of the proposed right-of-way (41CX1, 41CX232, 41CX917- 41CX936, 41CX938, 41CX940-41CX944, 41PC575).
Fourteen of the 29 sites are considered potentially eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places or worthy of formal designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (41CX1, 41CX232, 41CX918, 41CX919, 41CX922, 41CX926, 41CX927, 41CX930, 41CX931, 41CX933, 41CX940, 41CX942, 41CX943, 41CX944). The remaining 15 sites extend beyond the proposed right-of-way and as these were not fully assessed, possess unknown eligibility (41CX920, 41CX921, 41CX923-41CX925, 41CX927, 41CX928, 41CX929, 41CX932, 41CX934-41CX936, 41CX938, 41CX941, 41PC575). However, observed archaeological evidence for portions of these sites restricted to the proposed right-ofway suggests that contributing elements to the sites’ National Register of Historic Places or State Antiquities Landmark status eligibility are not present or are unknown.
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