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Texas Historical Commission
An intensive archeological survey was completed in order to inventory and evaluate archeological resources within the footprint of proposed widening improvements to Farm-toMarket Road (FM) 517 between State Highway (SH) 35 in eastern Brazoria County and FM 646 in western Galveston County, Texas. The project is sponsored and funded by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Houston District. The project is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) as well as the Antiquities Code of Texas.
The project is approximately 8.7 miles (mi) or 13.9 kilometers (km) in length. The width of the project right-of-way (ROW) generally varies between 222 and 360 feet (ft) or 68 to 110 meters (m) but extends up to 500 ft (152 m) at some intersections. The archeological area of potential effects (APE) is defined as the largest possible footprint for all three alternatives or 232.3 acres (ac) or 94.0 hectares (ha). The APE includes 110.5 ac or 44.72 ha of existing right-ofway and 121.7 ac or 49.25 ha of proposed new right-of-way. At the time of the survey, rightof-entry was granted to 29.57 acres of areas for proposed right-of-way.
Typical roadway construction would reach depths of 2 ft or 0.6 m, with possible deeper impacts for construction of drainage elements. Fieldwork was conducted July 25-29, 2016 under Texas Antiquities Permit 7228. Based on the review of the Houston Potential Archeological Liability Map (PALM), some of the project area (60.3 ac [24.4 ha]) was determined to fall within Map Unit 4, for which survey is not recommended. The review of the PALM indicated that the remainder of the project area (172 ac [69.6 ha]) should be subjected to varying stages of intensive survey, including the excavation of shovel tests and/or mechanical trenching. Of the 172 ac (69.6 ha) recommended for survey, 70.54 ac (28.55 ha) did not have right-of-entry at the time of the survey.
A majority of the APE was determined to have been disturbed by agricultural activities, erosion, and construction and maintenance of the existing road. At the time of the present investigation right-of-entry was not granted to the entire area proposed for new right-of-way. In those areas where right-of-entry was granted, 24 shovel tests were placed, all of which were negative for cultural materials. Additionally, five trenches with a combined length of 692 ft (210.9 m) were excavated near the Confederate Cemetery. No new archeological sites were identified during the survey and no artifacts collected. Project records will be curated at the Center for Archeological Studies (CAS) at Texas State University.
The Texas Historical Commission concurred with the findings of this report on May 26, 2016.
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