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Authors

Scotty Moore

Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

An intensive archeological survey was completed in order to inventory and evaluate archeological resources and to identify potential unmarked internments within a portion of existing Farm-toMarket Road (FM) 359 right-of-way adjacent to the Wilderness Branch Baptist Church Cemetery in Fort Bend County, Texas. The land within the project footprint is anticipated to be converted into roadbed when FM 359 is expanded under control-section-job number 0543-02-075. The final design of this road widening project has not yet been determined; however, some proposed alternatives include the current project footprint, which is located adjacent to the known boundaries of the Wilderness Branch Baptist Cemetery. Anticipated depths of impacts within the current project footprint are expected to be three feet (0.9 meters) for roadway construction and up to ten feet (3.1 meters) at culvert locations. The area of potential effects (APE) consists of the 0.15-acre footprint for the project.

Since the project is sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation and is partially funded by the Federal Highway Administration, it is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act as well as the Antiquities Code of Texas. Texas Antiquities Permit 8957 was obtained for the purposes of conducting survey within the current project area.

Fieldwork was conducted over the course of one field session in July 2019. Due to extensive disturbance associated with highway construction/maintenance and utility line installation, no shovel test units were excavated. A single mechanically excavated trench measuring 25.5 meters (82 feet) by 3 meters (9.8 feet) was excavated within the portion of the APE that was not currently utilized as a utility corridor.

No evidence of human internments was identified. A single Isolated Find, consisting of a Ferris brick (dating to circa 1920s) and a Texas truck license plate (dated 1962) was recorded at a depth of approximately 30–40 centimeters (11.8–15.8 inches) below the surface near the eastern terminus of trench. As Isolated Finds are not eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, no additional investigation is required.

Due to the presence of numerous buried utility lines throughout the APE, Cox|McLain (CMEC) was only able to mechanically trench an area measuring approximately 76.5 square meters (823.4 square feet), or roughly 47 percent of the 162 square meters (1,743.8 square feet) initially proposed for excavation in the permitted research design. Should extant utility lines be abandoned or removed during the course of construction activities related to proposed road widening, CMEC recommends that all ground disturbing activities be monitored by a professional archeologist in order to identify potential human internments that could not be located during the current study. No new archeological sites were recorded and no artifacts were collected. Project records will be curated at the Center for Archeological Studies at Texas State University. The Texas Historical Commission concurred with findings and recommendations on July 25, 2019.

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

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