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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

This report documents the National Register significance testing and data recovery investigations conducted from February 27-March 15, 2012 (testing), and June 11-25, 2012 (data recovery), at the site of 41HR1114 by Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc. The site is located just west of Lower Mayde Creek, in west Harris County, Texas. The site had been first located during a February, 2012 survey conducted by Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc. in preparation for a proposed extension of the Park Row Boulevard Right-of-Way (Moore and Driver 2012). The survey alignment was privately owned at the time of the survey, and therefore, neither the Antiquities Code of Texas nor Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 mandated the survey. However, the survey was carried out as proactive due diligence as a key element of the future regulatory requirements for a private development project on an ambitious development schedule. The survey identified three sites, 41HR1114, 41HR1115, and 41HR1116.

Significance testing excavations at 41HR1114 were conducted in February and March, 2012, and were also carried out as proactive due diligence. The test excavations consisted of hand excavation and backhoe trenching with a focus on geomorphological assessment of the site, including the depositional reconstruction and identification of the degree of intactness of the deposits. These investigations determined that the site possessed the potential for future research, and should be considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). At that point, the development project was subsumed within the Harris County Improvement District No. 4, DBA Energy Corridor Management District, and further investigations fell under the jurisdiction of the Texas Historic Commission (THC) permitting process. To facilitate planned development schedules, the proposed Park Row Boulevard Right-of-Way alignment was divided into smaller segments, with 41HR1114 located in the Phase 1 segment. This portion of the alignment measures approximately 850 m (2800 ft) in length, and the area of potential effect (APE) in the area of 41HR1114 is limited to a 36.5 m (120 ft) wide ROW (Figure 1). The data recovery investigations at 41HR1114 were conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 6274.

During the significance testing and data recovery field investigations at 41HR1114, a total of sixteen 1 x 1 m hand units (XU 1-16) were excavated. XUs 1-4 were conducted as distinct 1 x 1 m units (XUs 1, 2, and 4 were placed adjacent to backhoe trenches) during the testing phase, while the remainder of the hand excavations were conducted as two 2 x 3 m block excavations (subdivided into XUs 5-10 and 11-16) as part of the data recovery phase. Three backhoe trenches (BHTs 1-3) totaling 45 m in length were excavated, two during the testing phase and one during the data recovery operations. The excavations produced a total of 4431 artifacts. These materials were recovered from Levels 1-14 (0-150 cmbs), but with the highest concentrations of artifacts encountered in Levels 3-7. The chronologically diagnostic dart point types, in conjunction with the presence of ceramics and the lack of arrow points, indicate occupations at the site spanning the Middle Archaic to Early Ceramic periods.

However, the vertical distribution of diagnostic artifacts and the geoarchaeological assessment of the site deposits indicate the presence of significant bioturbation-related disturbance of cultural materials located throughout the site. Consequently, the real, and quite significant contribution of this project is instead, the intensive geoarcheological analysis of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene alluvium and of the nature and appearance of soil formation within such deposits at the site, and by extension for the Houston area. The current investigation has considerably diminished the paucity of information on the deposits lain down by small streams in the region, as well as provided insight into the pedogenic processes associated with argillic horizons in the late Pleistocene and Holocene soils of Southeast Texas.

We may conclude by reiterating that the Data Recovery excavations at 41HR1114 were successful in providing new information on the prehistory of the site and the broader Houston region. The contribution from the strictly archeological analysis of the cultural materials and contexts yielded by the site are modest. In contrast, the results of the intensive geoarcheological analysis of the site are quite novel and important, and have considerable broader application in the future analysis and evaluation of prehistoric sites within the Houston region. No further archeological work is recommended for 41HR1114. Once the current report is finalized, the artifacts recovered from 41HR1114 will be curated at TARL.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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