Texas Historical Commission


Archeologists from AmaTerra Environmental, Inc. (AmaTerra), working on behalf of the Tarrant Regional Water District (TWRD) and their environmental compliance subconsultant, Freese & Nichols, Inc., conducted an emergency investigation at the previously recorded Site 41HE377 at the Cedar Creek Reservoir Pump Station in Henderson County, Texas. The investigation was conducted after a private citizen reported finding a human jaw bone along the shoreline at 41HE377 and expressed concern that the pump station, which is currently under construction, may be impacting an unrecorded cemetery.

Initially recorded in 2011, 41HE377 was documented as a thin surface scatter of prehistoric artifacts occupying the Cedar Creek reservoir’s shoreline at a proposed pump station site for TRWD’s Integrated Pipeline Project. The site was recommended as not eligible for the NRHP because it contained no intact deposits along the shoreline or farther inland. At the time of recording, archeologists speculated that the lithic debris along the shoreline appeared to be washing in from elsewhere in the lake through wave action.

In April 2017, archeologists inspected the pump station construction site and Site 41HE377 area for any evidence of human remains or disturbed burials and met with the informant, Bobby Wright. AmaTerra found no evidence of burials or displaced human remains. Once at the site, Mr. Wright indicated that he thought the jawbone had washed up from the reservoir when he found it two years earlier, when water was lower than its current level. He was not able to show investigators the bone because he had reburied it and could not relocate it due to landscape modifications made during construction activities at the pump station site and higher water levels. Thus, archeologists were not able to confirm its presence or that the reported bone was indeed human.

Based on the lack of any real evidence of human remains at the Cedar Creek Pump Station Site, AmaTerra recommends that continued construction at the pump station should proceed with no further cultural resource coordination required under the NHPA or the ACT. However, due to the continued potential for an unmarked cemetery somewhere under the lake, AmaTerra recommends TRWD staff conduct periodic surface inspection along the shoreline, particularly along its northeastern segment when water levels are low.

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