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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon) was selected by Hutto Independent School District (ISD) to conduct an intensive cultural resources inventory and assessment of the proposed location of Hutto ISD’s Elementary School No. 6 Project. The proposed Elementary School No. 6 tract consists of an approximately 6.8-hectare (16.7-acre) tract located east of the Park at Brushy Creek residential subdivision, extending eastwards from the eastern end of Holbrooke Street. For purposes of the cultural resources survey, the project area was considered to consist of the entire 6.8-hectare (16.7-acre) tract, though construction-related activities would be restricted to approximately the southern half of the tract. No ground-disturbing activities would be conducted in the northern half of the project area.

The proposed undertaking is being sponsored by Hutto ISD, which represents a political subdivision of the state of Texas, on land owned by Hutto ISD; as such, the project falls under the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Code of Texas (Texas Natural Resources Code of 1977, Title 9, Chapter 191). No federal jurisdiction has been identified for the project at this time. As the project represents a publicly sponsored undertaking with the potential to impact significant cultural resources, Hutto ISD is required to provide for a cultural resources inventory of the project area.

On March 5, 2015, Horizon archeological technicians Briana Nicole Smith and Jared Wiersema, under the overall direction of Jeffrey D. Owens, Principal Investigator, performed an intensive cultural resources survey of the project area to locate any cultural resources that potentially would be impacted by the proposed undertaking. Horizon’s archeologists traversed the 6.8-hectare (16.7-acre) tract in parallel, linear transects spaced no more than 30.5 meters (100.0 feet) apart and thoroughly inspected the modern ground surface for aboriginal and historicage cultural resources. The project area has apparently been cleared of vegetation in the past and is currently characterized as an open field covered in sporadic clump grasses and shrubs. Trees are largely absent except for a small copse of trees surrounding a windmill and stock tank in the southeastern portion of the project area. Approximately the southern half of the project area is situated on an upland formation, while approximately the northern half is situated on alluvial terraces that frame the channel of Brushy Creek, which flows eastwards to the north of the project area. The cultural resources survey was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 7207.

In addition to pedestrian walkover, the Texas State Minimum Archeological Survey Standards (TSMASS) require the excavation of 1 shovel test per 2 acres for project areas measuring between 11 and 100 acres in size; thus, a minimum of 9 shovel tests were required within the 6.8-hectare (16.7-acre) project area to meet the TSMASS. Horizon excavated a total of 11 shovel tests during the survey, thereby exceeding the TSMASS for a project area of this size. Holocene-age soils with the potential to contain cultural resources were fully penetrated in 9 of the 11 shovel tests located. The remaining 2 shovel tests, designated as BS3 and BS4, which are located near the northern boundary of the project area, were terminated at depths of 60.0 and 70.0 centimeters (23.6 and 27.6 inches) below surface, respectively. While the potential exists for more deeply buried cultural resources to be present at greater depths, no backhoe trenching was conducted during the survey as no ground-disturbing activities are proposed in the northern half of the project area.

Aside from a modern windmill and stock tank located in a small copse of trees in the southeastern portion of the project area, no cultural resources, historic or prehistoric, were identified within the project area as a result of the survey. Based on the results of the surveylevel investigations documented in this report, no potentially significant cultural resources would be affected by the proposed undertaking. In accordance with 36 CFR 800.4, Horizon has made a reasonable and good-faith effort to identify historic properties within the project area. No cultural resources were identified within the project area that meet the criteria for designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SAL) according to 13 TAC 26, and no further archeological work is recommended in connection with the proposed undertaking. However, human burials, both prehistoric and historic, are protected under the Texas Health and Safety Code. In the event that any human remains or burial objects are inadvertently discovered at any point during construction, use, or ongoing maintenance in the project area, even in previously surveyed areas, all work should cease immediately in the vicinity of the inadvertent discovery, and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) should be notified immediately.

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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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