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Texas Historical Commission
The proposed US 83 La Joya Loop Project is a new location roadway in southwestern Hidalgo County originating at US 83 and Showers Road near Havana and ending at US 83 approximately 0.8 miles east of FM 886 (El Faro Road) near the town of Peñitas. The Area of Potential Effect (APE) has an approximate length of approximately 10.5 miles with a total area of approximately 462.3 acres. The original survey was conducted between April and October of 2013
The present survey examined two parcels of the APE that were inaccessible due to denied of Right of Entry (ROE). The parcels have a combined area of 54.9 acres. Both were defined high probability areas for the presence of sites though preservation potential in the larger tract is considered poor due to clearing and decades of agriculture impacts. The typical depth of impact will be approximately 3 feet for the roadway construction, 6 feet for culverts, and 50 feet for bridge pilings. The US 83 La Joya Loop Project survey was conducted by TxDOT archeologists between September and October, 2017. A total of 17 shovel tests and 9 backhoe trenches, were excavated largely in the high probability areas although some shovel testing was conducted in the low probability areas Both are within the defined high probability area and will require survey once ROE is granted.
The western parcel, designated Area 1, has an area of 9.3 acres and consists of ranch land with secondary growth scrub woodland and several north south-trending two-track roads that traverse the tract. Investigations at Area 1 included pedestrian survey and subsurface testing. No new archeological sites were recorded but site 41HG242, located immediately east of the tract, was found to extend approximately 175 meters westward into the parcel. The site consists of a surficial lithic scatter and subsurface testing in Area 1 was unable to identify intact subsurface deposits associated with the site.
The eastern tract, Area 2, has an area of 45.6 acres and consists of agricultural lands that are completed cleared and plowed. Investigations at the location included pedestrian survey and subsurface testing. Two new archeological sites were recorded in Area 2 consisting of 41HG261 and 41HG262, A previously recorded site, 41HG239, is located immediately west of the tract and was found to extend approximately 195 meters eastward into Area 2. All three sites consisted of very low density (< 10 nondiagnostic lithic artifacts) surficial lithic scatters, Subsurface testing in Area 2 verified the extensive plow impacts and was unable to identify intact subsurface deposits associated with any of the three sites.
Based on the results of the survey, land-use over the past Century has severely impacted both Area 1 and Area 2. As such, the documented impacts within the APE examined indicates that sites 41HG239, 242, 261, and 262 lack sufficient integrity of location, association, and materials to be able to address important questions of history and prehistory (36 CFR 60.4).
Based on the results of the pedestrian survey and subsurface testing, the cleared and plowed agricultural lands was subjected to pedestrian survey only due to the extensive impacts. The proposed undertaking has no potential to affect archeological historic properties (36 CFR 800.16(l)) or State Antiquities Landmarks (13 TAC 26.12) in the APE and no further work is warranted for the proposed project.
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