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Archeological Of The Proposed FM 1626 Pass-Through Toll Project From Ranch-To-Market 967 To Farm-To-Market 2770 In Hays County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Hicks & Company archeologists conducted an intensive, 100-percent linear archeological survey of approximately 3.3 miles of proposed expansions to Farm-to-Market (FM) 1626 west of the city of Buda, Hays County, Texas. The survey was conducted between July 2008 and October 2016 for compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act on behalf of Hays County, the project engineer Klotz Associates, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The Area of Potential Effects (APE) for the proposed project is composed of 54.3 acres of existing right of way and 8.08 acres of proposed expanded right of way (measuring 62.38 acres of existing plus proposed expanded right of way), and approximately 1.07 acres of temporary construction easements located outside of the existing or proposed right of way. While the proposed expanded right of way corridor has been determined, the project engineer requested that a 200-foot-wide corridor be investigated (extending 100 feet in either direction from the existing centerline) to allow for flexibility in road design, potential utility relocation, and other possible areas of concern, resulting in a total of approximately 81 acres of land surveyed. Investigations were coordinated with the Texas Historical Commission through TxDOT under Texas Antiquities Committee Permit Number 4981.
On three occasions between July 28, 2008, and August 10, 2009 Hicks & Company archeologists conducted an intensive linear archeological survey of the proposed FM 1626 improvements project west of the city of Buda, Texas, on behalf of Hays County and TxDOT, returning to the field on January 21, 2016 to survey for proposed temporary construction easements located outside of the existing right of way or proposed new right of way, and again on October 26, 2016 to survey proposed new right of way in previously inaccessible parcels, completing the survey. The survey consisted of pedestrian inspection supplemented by shovel testing (N=102) and mechanical backhoe trench excavations (N=7) in the area north of Onion Creek. One backhoe trench excavated on the north bank of Onion Creek was positive for two pieces of lithic debitage, along with 32 shovel tests throughout the APE that were positive for cultural materials. One previously unrecorded site (Site 41HY449) was documented during the survey. This prehistoric surficial scatter does not meet the significance criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). In addition to this newly recorded site, archeologists visited elements of seven previously recorded sites (Sites 41HY199-202, 41HY209-210, and 41HY219) within the APE. Elements of one of these, Site 41HY200, could not be found within the archeological APE. Of these, only elements of Site 41HY201 are considered to have potential to deem the site eligible for inclusion on the NRHP or for designation as an SAL. The project engineer has altered plans in the vicinity of the site to avoid impacts to those resources. All other sites were found to be heavily disturbed, no longer extant, or within shallow surficial contexts atop bedrock with limited research value.
Archeologists also visited the expansion areas adjacent to historic Barton Cemetery. Although the cemetery lies in close proximity to the APE, the County proposes no expansions in the immediate vicinity of the cemetery beyond a proposed retaining wall with riprap slope within the existing right of way outside the cemetery. This retaining wall is to be constructed approximately ten feet within current existing right of way. By design, retaining walls planned for this project will be fixed in place to concrete leveling pads set in place on top of the current grade and supported by earth reinforcement buildup of imported fill material. During survey, an overgrown road or trail that follows the current cemetery fenceline reinforces the assumption that the existing cemetery boundary served as the historic boundary as well, significantly reducing the potential for unmarked burials to be located within the current archeological APE. Construction within the APE is recommended to proceed with no further cultural resources investigation. The current investigations followed a no-collection policy. All projectrelated records, forms, and photographs will be permanently housed at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory in Austin, Texas.
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