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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

Gray & Pape, Inc. of Houston, Texas was contracted by BIO-WEST, Inc. of Houston, Texas to conduct an intensive pedestrian cultural resources survey of two proposed water line segments (North Segment and South Segment) totaling 6.7 kilometers (4.4 miles) in length, and a waste water treatment plant covering 6.6 hectares (16.2 acres) in Fort Bend County, Texas. Portions of the project area are on property owned by Sienna Plantation Municipal Utility District Number 1 and the City of Missouri City. As political subdivisions of the state, a Texas Antiquities Permit was acquired prior to the commencement of fieldwork (Permit Number 7918).

Fieldwork and reporting activities were performed according to procedures set forth by the Texas Historical Commission and the Council of Texas Archeologists and in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The goals of the survey were to establish whether or not previously unidentified archaeological resources were located within the project area, also defined as the project’s Area of Potential Effects, and whether the proposed project would affect any previously identified cultural resources.

Prior to fieldwork, site file and background research was conducted, including a review of historic aerial and topographic maps in an attempt to locate any historic structures within the Area of Potential Effects. Site file review and background research indicated two previously recorded sites might be impacted by the project’s Area of Potential Effects. Site 41FB253 was recorded as a Late Prehistoric shell midden and 41FB324 was the remains of a late nineteenth century sugar mill. A total of 15 shovel tests and two trenches were excavated along the planned route of the North Segment, none were positive for cultural resources, and the North Segment was observed to be heavily disturbed by bank modifications along Steep Bank and Flat Bank Creeks. Close interval shovel testing and a trench to test for deeply buried deposits demonstrate that 41FB253 does not manifest within the Area of Potential Effects and that the area has been heavily disturbed by past development. A total of 16 shovel tests were excavated along the planned route of the South Segment. Three tests near 41FB324 were positive for disarticulated brick and these were determined to be out of context remains from the demolition of that site during the construction of Waters Lake Boulevard. Close interval shovel testing and a trench to test for deeply buried deposits demonstrated that 41FB324 does not manifest within the Area of Potential Effects. The South Segment was observed to be heavily impacted by utilities installation, road construction, and residential development. Fifteen shovel tests and six trenches were excavated within the planned footprint of the wastewater treatment plant, all were negative for cultural resources. A ditch feature located within this portion of the Area of Potential Effects has been suggested to be of slave or prison labor construction. However, previous historical research and the current the archaeological survey produced no evidence in support of this supposition. Prior to fieldwork, site file and background research was conducted, including a review of historic aerial and topographic maps in an attempt to locate any historic structures within the Area of Potential Effects. Site file review and background research indicated two previously recorded sites might be impacted by the project’s Area of Potential Effects. Site 41FB253 was recorded as a Late Prehistoric shell midden and 41FB324 was the remains of a late nineteenth century sugar mill. A total of 15 shovel tests and two trenches were excavated along the planned route of the North Segment, none were positive for cultural resources, and the North Segment was observed to be heavily disturbed by bank modifications along Steep Bank and Flat Bank Creeks. Close interval shovel testing and a trench to test for deeply buried deposits demonstrate that 41FB253 does not manifest within the Area of Potential Effects and that the area has been heavily disturbed by past development. A total of 16 shovel tests were excavated along the planned route of the South Segment. Three tests near 41FB324 were positive for disarticulated brick and these were determined to be out of context remains from the demolition of that site during the construction of Waters Lake Boulevard. Close interval shovel testing and a trench to test for deeply buried deposits demonstrated that 41FB324 does not manifest within the Area of Potential Effects. The South Segment was observed to be heavily impacted by utilities installation, road construction, and residential development. Fifteen shovel tests and six trenches were excavated within the planned footprint of the wastewater treatment plant, all were negative for cultural resources. A ditch feature located within this portion of the Area of Potential Effects has been suggested to be of slave or prison labor construction. However, previous historical research and the current the archaeological survey produced no evidence in support of this supposition.

No new cultural resources were identified during the course of the survey. Known Sites 41FB253 and 41FB324 were determined to have neither near surface, nor deeply buried components, that extend into the project’s Area of Potential Effects and will not be impacted by the current undertaking. Based on these results Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends that no further cultural resources work be required and that the project be allowed to proceed as currently planned. Gray & Pape, Inc. submitted project records to the Center of Archaeological Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

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