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Texas Historical Commission
On March 11, 2015, and on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), SWCA Environmental Consultants conducted an intensive cultural resources survey with systematic mechanical excavations at the Farm-to-Market (FM) 8 and Hog Creek crossing in Eastland County. These investigations for the Austin District were conducted for the proposed replacement of an existing bridge. The work was conducted in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 USC 306108) and the Antiquities Code of Texas (9 NRC 191). Jon Budd served as Principal Investigator under Texas Antiquities Code Permit No. 7140.
The maximum depth of impacts is estimated to be up to 40 feet below the current ground surface for the bridge supports and 6 feet for the remainder of the project. The area of potential effects (APE) is therefore defined as the 126- to 210-foot-wide (38- to 64-meter [m]-wide) FM 8 right-of-way (ROW).
There have been several surveys in the area, but no sites have been recorded in or immediately adjacent to the project area. In February 2011, AmaTerra surveyed the project area on behalf of TxDOT and recorded no cultural resources (Atlas 2015). However, the survey did not entail backhoe trenching, which is the reason for the current work. In 2013, Bill Moore with Brazos Valley Research Associates recorded site 41EA36, the Desdemona Jail, which was likely constructed in the early part of the 20th century and is located approximately 500 m east of the current survey area (Atlas 2015). Historical markers for Desdemona Cemetery (approximately 500 m east), Fort Blair C.S.A. (approximately 900 m east), and Desdemona First Baptist Church (approximately 1,338 m northeast) are located within a 1-mile radius of the project area (Atlas 2015).
The ground surface was inspected for the entire APE and a total of four backhoe trenches were excavated, two BHTs were placed in the northeast quadrant and two BHTs were placed in the northwest quadrant of the FM 8 bridge crossing. Existing utilities precluded placement of additional trenches.
The excavations encountered thick sands, silts, and clays in all trenches with some level of disturbance noted in all trenches. No cultural material was observed on the surface or within any of the backhoe trenches. As such, no further cultural resources investigations are recommended within the existing FM 8 ROW at Hog Creek.
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