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Intensive Archaeological Survey of the Carmel Development Municipal Utility District 2 Project, Travis County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
At the request of Carmel Devco, Inc., Pape-Dawson conducted an intensive archaeological survey of the eastern portion of the proposed Carmel Development Project in northeastern Travis County, Texas. The project involves the construction of a new municipal utility district (MUD 2) within the 341-acre (138.1- hectare [ha]) project area. No impacts are planned adjacent to or within the floodplain of Wilbarger Creek and its tributaries, which composes approximately 70 acres (28.3 ha) of MUD 2. Thus, archaeological investigations were conducted within the remaining 271.4 acres (109.8 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 2’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 anticipated for this project, compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) will not be necessary. The investigation was conducted in compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas under Antiquities Permit No. 7519. The purpose of the investigations 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 two previously recorded sites (41TV2521 and 41TV2522) are within the project area. In addition, the Pfluger Cemetery (commemorated by an Official Texas Historical Marker) is adjacent to the project area, along with site 41TV2453.
Pape Dawson’s intensive archaeological survey included pedestrian survey and the excavation of 68 shovel tests on January 28 and 29, February 2 and 3, and June 7, 8, 15, and 16, 2016. The survey encountered extensive agricultural fields affording greater than 30 percent ground surface visibility; therefore, did not meet the CTA/THC standards, which require 1 shovel test per 3 acres for a project of this size. A total of ten shovel tests was positive for cultural material. Two previously recorded sites (41TV2521 and 41TV2522) were revisited and combined along with a third locus into one larger site, 41TV2521. In addition, archaeological site 41TV2527 and one isolated find were newly documented. Investigations found no evidence that adjacent site 41TV2453 extended into the project area.
Sites 41TV2521 and 41TV2527 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 Bohls and Dossmann families and their tenants or laborers. Sites 41TV2521 and 41TV2527 were evaluated according to the criteria in 13 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) 26.10. Both sites were recorded based upon encountering shallowly buried cultural material in shovel tests or on the surface in a disturbed context and each site lacks intact features. Neither site possesses 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 41TV2521 and 41TV2527 that are significant on the local or national level. Based on these criteria, neither site is recommended eligible for designation as an SAL, and Pape-Dawson recommends no further archaeological work at sites 41TV2521 and 41TV2527. Diagnostic artifacts, project records, and photographs will be curated at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University.
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