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Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation, Yoakum District, Blanton & Associates, Inc., conducted an intensive archeological survey of a portion of the United States Highway 59 Upgrade Project, which extends across Fort Bend, Wharton, and Jackson counties, Texas. The proposed undertaking would consist of roadway upgrades to an interstate facility between Farm-to-Market Road (FM) 2919 and FM 710, a length of approximately 39.5 miles. A total of 2,089 acres would be required for construction including 1,647 acres of existing right of way (ROW) and 445 acres of new ROW. This area is comprised of properties owned by the State of Texas (existing ROW), as well as properties that are currently privately owned (proposed new ROW).
The archeological survey focused on portions of the northern segment of the overall project, which is situated between FM 2919 and the Colorado River primarily within Wharton County with a small portion in Fort Bend County. The survey took place within this segment where right of entry had been secured as of August 2015. A total of 70 acres was surveyed between August 20 and September 13, 2015 under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 7306. Further fieldwork for the remaining unsurveyed portions of the area of potential effects (APE) will be conducted in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2014-2016 General Archeological Survey Services Contract under a different Texas Antiquities Permit. Archeological survey of the accessible areas consisted of systematic inspection of the ground surface as well as subsurface inspection in portions of the APE that were considered high probability areas for encountering intact prehistoric or historic sites. Shovel testing was conducted within the high probability areas and systematic mechanical trenching was also conducted within specific high probability areas characterized by deep Holocene alluvium.
A total 192 shovel tests and 63 trenches were excavated during the investigation. One historic archeological site (41WH139), one prehistoric isolated artifact, and one roadside memorial were identified within the APE. Site 41WH139, the isolated find, the historic structure, and roadside memorial are not recommended eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under any criteria, nor are they recommended eligible for designation as a State Antiquities Landmark. No further work is recommended at these locations. One additional possible historic archeological site was identified at an historic high probability area but is outside of the APE. No artifacts were collected during the survey. Project records and a copy of the final report will be curated at the Center for Archeological Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
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