Texas Historical Commission
In June 2015, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville (UTRGVB) (Client) contracted with Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. (RKEI) to perform an intensive cultural resources survey for a temporary building pad site and a 1000-ft. road segment and accompanying parking lot to be constructed on the UTRGVB Campus, Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. In addition, the asphalt pavement over an existing parking lot was to be removed. The project is sponsored and the right-ofway is owned by the University. Given these parameters, the project falls under the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Code of Texas as administered by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The project is located near historic Fort Brown (41CF96), a National Register of Historic Places District.
The purpose of the survey was to determine whether historic or prehistoric cultural resources are located within the Area of Potential Effect (APE), and if so, assess their significance and eligibility for formal designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SALs) and for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The project was carried out on June 12, 2015 under Texas Antiquities Committee Permit No. 7307. Dr. Steve A. Tomka served as Principal Investigator and Mark Luzmoor was the Project Archaeologist.
Upon arrival to the project area, it was apparent that construction activities for the temporary building and pad site had already begun. The 1000-ft road segment had been graded just prior to the investigation. Therefore, the field work consisted of the visual inspection of the graded areas and shovel testing along the roadway in search of shallowly buried cultural materials.
Having been shallowly graded, surface visibility was 100% throughout the APE. Reconnaissance of the right-of-way identified no cultural features exposed on surface. In addition, examination of the soils that had been piled near the ROW discovered no cultural materials what would have been scraped off the original surface during grading. Finally, the four shovel tests (STs) that were excavated along the APE identified no buried or surface-exposed historic or prehistoric materials or features.
Therefore, while the project area has been impacted by grading prior to the inception of the field investigations, the oversight actually created a high surface visibility context that improved the potential to encounter shallowly buried cultural deposits and features. Despite this high visibility and the excavation of a small number of shovel tests, no prehistoric or historic cultural deposits were noted during the field investigations. As a result, since the proposed and already underway project will not impact cultural deposits, RKEI suggests that the project may proceed as planned. All project-related documents are permanently housed at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.
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