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Intensive Archaeological Survey of the Carmel Development Municipal Utility District 1 Project, Travis County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
At the request of Carmel Devco, Inc., Pape‐Dawson conducted an intensive archaeological survey of the western portion of the proposed Carmel Development Project in northeastern Travis County, Texas. The project involves the construction of a new municipal utility district (MUD 1) within the 451‐acre (182.5‐ hectare [ha]) project area. No impacts are planned adjacent to or within the floodplain of Wilbarger Creek and its tributaries, which composes approximately 87 acres (35.2 ha) of MUD 1. Thus, archaeological investigations were conducted within the remaining 364 acres (147.3 ha). The depths of impacts vary, but typically road construction impacts are 4 to 5 feet (ft) (1.22 to 1.52 meters [m]) deep, while underground utility installations may impact up to 12 ft (3.66 m) deep.
A MUD is a political subdivision of the State of Texas authorized by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality to provide water, sewage, drainage, and other services within the MUD boundaries. Based on MUD 1’s status as a political subdivision of the state, compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas is necessary. As no federal funding or permitting is required for this project, compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act will not be necessary. The investigation was conducted in compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas under Antiquities Permit No. 7523. The purpose of the investigation was to identify all historic or prehistoric cultural resources located within the project area and to evaluate the significance and eligibility of identified resources for designation as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). All work was done in accordance with the archaeological survey standards and guidelines as developed by the Council of Texas Archaeologists (CTA) and adopted by the Texas Historical Commission (THC).
The investigations included a cultural resources background literature and records review and an intensive pedestrian survey with shovel testing. The background review revealed that portions of the project area have been previously surveyed, and one previously recorded site (41TV2453) is within the project area. In addition, the Pfluger Cemetery (commemorated by an Official Texas Historical Marker) is within the project area, and site 41TV2338 is adjacent to the project area.
Pape Dawson’s intensive archaeological survey included pedestrian survey and the excavation of 198 shovel tests on January 28 and 29, February 2 and 3, and June 7, 8, 15, and 16, 2016. The survey exceeded the CTA/THC standards, which require 1 shovel test per 3 acres for a project of this size. A total of 16 shovel tests was positive for cultural material, and four archaeological sites (41TV2523, 41TV2524, 41TV2525, and 41TV2526) and one isolated find were newly recorded. In addition, site 41TV2453 was revisited and the boundary was expanded to include a surface scatter of historic‐age artifacts and a refuse dump within the current project area. Investigations found no evidence that adjacent site 41TV2338 extended into the project area.
Sites 41TV2523, 41TV2524, and 41TV2526 are likely part of the same historic landscape and date from the late‐nineteenth to mid‐twentieth centuries. Archival research indicates these sites are associated with the Pfluger, Bohls, Kuempel, and Dossmann families and their tenants or laborers. Sites 41TV2523, 41TV2524, and 41TV2526 were evaluated according to the criteria in 13 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) 26.10. All of these sites were recorded based upon encountering shallowly buried cultural material in shovel tests or on the surface in a secondary context, and each site lacks intact features besides ubiquitous animal sheds and water wells. None of the sites possess unique or rare attributes concerning Texas history or has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of Texas history by the addition of new and important information. Archival research did not identify any specific individuals associated with sites 41TV2523, 41TV2524, and 41TV2526 that are significant on the local or national level. Based on these criteria, all of these sites are recommended not eligible for designation as an SAL, and Pape‐Dawson recommends no further archaeological work at sites 41TV2523, 41TV2524, and 41TV2526.
While both sites 41TV2524 and 41TV2525 may extend outside the current project area; only the portions of the sites within the project area were evaluated. Site 41TV2525 is recommended not eligible for designation as an SAL, according to the criteria in 13 TAC 26.10, based on its shallowly buried, surficial, and non‐diagnostic assemblage.
The portion of site 41TV2453 within the current project area is recommended not eligible for SAL designation based on the disturbed nature of the cultural deposits and lack of intact features. However, the portion of site 41TV2453 outside the current project area has not been evaluated and its eligibility for SAL designation remains undetermined.
Diagnostic artifacts, project records, and photographs will be curated at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University.
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