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Authors

Melanie Nichols

Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

At the request of the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), an intensive archaeological survey was conducted by Pape-Dawson for the proposed Westlakes Water Main project located partially within the City of San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas. The project will entail the installation of approximately 5.2 miles (8.4 kilometers) of new water line. Two tie-ins as well as a segment of the main alignment that crosses Loop 1604 will be bored beneath the roadways while the remainder of the line will be laid out in a trench and backfilled. The project will consist of a total area of roughly 24.5 acres (9.9 hectares) extending across both public and private land. Though the vertical depths of impact are currently unknown, the maximum depth of ground disturbance within the water easement and existing road ROW is considered to be up to 8 feet (ft) (2.4 meters [m]) below the ground surface based on typical water line design, except at the bore location where impacts may be deeper. Ground disturbance within the temporary construction easement will be minimal and should not exceed 1 ft (30 centimeters [cm]) below the current ground surface.

Based on SAWS’ status as a political subdivision of the State of Texas, compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) is required. However, as no Federal funding or permitting will be required for this project, compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is not necessary.

Pape-Dawson conducted an archaeological survey for the Westlakes Water Main project between February 8 and 12, 2018. This work was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8312. The project area was subjected to a pedestrian survey with shovel testing with the exception of one parcel that could not be accessed because right-of-entry had not been obtained at the time of the survey. However, this parcel has been heavily disturbed by commercial development, and therefore, has a low potential to contain intact archaeological deposits. A total of 66 shovel tests were excavated to investigate the project area. As a result of the pedestrian survey and shovel test efforts, it was determined that archaeological deposits associated with previously recorded sites 41BX1150 and 41BX2117 extend into the current project area.

Sites 41BX1150 and 41BX2117 are prehistoric lithic procurement sites of indeterminate temporal affiliation. The lithic scatter resulting from lithic procurement activities within the current project area comes within 30 m of each of these sites, largely bridging the gap between them. For this reason, PapeDawson submitted a site revisit form for 41BX1150 to TARL recommending that the two previously recorded sites (41BX1150 and 41BX2117) be combined into one site (41BX1150) and that the site boundary for site 41BX1150 be expanded to include the lithic scatter within the current project area.

Within the portion of site 41BX1150 that extends into the current project area, no diagnostic material or features were observed. Lithic artifacts were primarily limited to the ground surface though a few artifacts were recovered subsurface at depths ranging from 0 to 20 cm below surface. Given the absence of diagnostic material and/or features, and the lack of intact subsurface deposits, Pape-Dawson recommends that the portion of site 41BX1150 within the current project area is not eligible for SAL designation.

Based on the results of the survey, Pape-Dawson recommends that no further archaeological work is necessary and that the project be allowed to proceed. However, if undiscovered cultural material is encountered during construction, it is recommended that all work in the vicinity should cease and that the discovery be evaluated by a qualified archaeologist who can provide guidance on how to proceed in accordance with state regulations.

Creative Commons License

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

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