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Intensive Mechanical Scraping near the Mitchell Cemetery, Tarrant County, Texas, Fort Worth District
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive archeological survey in April 2018 of 0.22 acres of existing TxDOT right of way (ROW) adjoining the western side of the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railroad located within the City of Fort Worth in Tarrant County. This survey was conducted in support of the proposed State Highway (SH) 183 improvements. Investigations included pedestrian survey and intensive mechanical scraping to assess the presence of or potential for unmarked extramural graves associated with the historic Mitchell Cemetery. Because the project will receive funding from the Federal Highways Administration, it qualifies as an undertaking as defined in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations Part 800.16(y) and, therefore, was conducted in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S. Code 306108). Furthermore, the project must also comply with the Antiquities Code of Texas (9 Natural Resources Code 191). Jon Budd served as Principal Investigator under Texas Antiquities Code Permit No. 8013.
The background review identified five previous archeological investigations and one previously recorded archeological site near the 0.22-acre project area, but no sites or surveys within the area. Other than the Mitchell Cemetery, no other cemeteries are located within 0.6 mile (1 km) of the project area. A review of historic maps indicated that numerous historic buildings are present within 0.6 mile (1 km) of the project area associated with the establishment and growth of the historic city of Fort Worth, though no structures were depicted within the proposed project area.
Field investigations consisted of systematic mechanical scraping across the project area. The excavations identified numerous buried utilities, including abandoned sewer pipes, and three abandoned modern septic tanks. In addition, modern and historic refuse was observed. The investigations identified no interments or other features associated with mortuary contexts. Based on the results of the survey, SWCA recommends a finding of “no historic properties affected,” and no further archeological investigations are recommended within the surveyed portions of the project area.
In addition to reporting the findings of the cemetery investigations, this report also contains a brief memorandum on the reburial of three human bone fragments recovered from Mitchell Cemetery in 2013 by a Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff, who found the remains in a disturbed context. The recovery and reburial are unrelated to the Section 106 and Antiquities Code investigations reported herein but is included as part of TxDOT’s ongoing Mitchell Cemetery investigations.
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