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Archeological Survey For The Proposed Extension Of State Highway 249 In Montgomery And Grimes Counties, Texas, CSJ 0720-02-072 and CSJ 0720-02-073
Texas Historical Commission
In May 2014, personnel with Prewitt and Associates, Inc., conducted an intensive pedestrian archeological survey along portions of the proposed route of the extension of State Highway (SH) 249 in Montgomery (CSJ 0720-02-073) and Grimes (CSJ 0720-02-072) counties under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 6798 for Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., and the Texas Department of Transportation, Houston District. The project area extends 14.9 miles northwest from existing SH 249 just southeast of Pinehurst in Montgomery County to Farm to Market Road (FM) 1774 about 1.8 miles north of Todd Mission in Grimes County. The project will consist of construction of a four-lane, controlled-access toll road with auxiliary lanes on mostly new location, typically within a 400-foot-wide right of way. The horizontal Area of Potential Effects for the road route is approximately 720 acres, of which 676 acres will be new right of way. The project also may require up to 98 acres for as many as four runoff detention ponds. Thus, the Area of Potential Effects for the entire project could encompass up to approximately 818 acres.
Project personnel consisted of Ross C. Fields (principal investigator), Aaron R. Norment (project archeologist), and Rob Thrift and Jennifer Anderson (archeological technicians). Fieldwork was conducted on May 5–9 and 19–23, 2014, and entailed approximately 24 person-days of effort. The pedestrian survey with shovel testing succeeded in covering 2.8 miles (127 acres) of the 14.9-mile route. Lack of right of entry prevented coverage of 4.3 miles and a 31-acre potential detention pond. Very dense vegetation and debris from the 2011 Magnolia wildfire prevented pedestrian coverage of the remaining 7.8 miles of the road route and three potential detention pond sites totaling 67 acres. Four archeological sites were recorded in the segments surveyed. Three sites (41GM464, 41MQ319, and 41MQ320) are low-density scatters of Native American lithic artifacts; the fourth site (41GM465) is a historic house site probably dating to the mid twentieth century. Artifacts recovered from them and records of the project will be curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. The eligibility of these four sites for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and designation as State Antiquities Landmarks is considered undetermined, pending completion of the survey and inventory of sites that potentially will be affected by the project.
The results of the survey done to date, observations made of areas that could not be surveyed, and results of the background research indicate that the original plan for fieldwork in the remaining unsurveyed areas should be modified. Based on the low likelihood of either Native American or historic sites, it is recommended that survey is not warranted along about 4.7 miles of the road route and on 20 acres in one potential detention pond. Of the remaining unsurveyed lands, about 7.2 miles of the road route and 78 acres in four potential detention ponds should be surveyed with shovel testing, and 0.2 miles of the road route should be surveyed with backhoe trenching. This additional survey should be done after sufficient clearing of vegetation and wildfire debris has been done to enable systematic and safe pedestrian coverage.
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