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Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of CPS Energy, Pape-Dawson Engineers (Pape-Dawson) conducted an intensive archaeological survey of the Calaveras Power Station proposed improvement areas in east San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. The property improvements will consist of a series of evaporation ponds, the location of which has not yet been determined. Vertical depths of impacts are anticipated to extend up to 20 feet (ft) (6 meters [m]) below the ground surface. The current project area comprises two tracts of land totaling approximately 228 acres (92 hectares [ha]).
As CPS Energy is a political subdivision of the state of Texas, compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) will be necessary. No federal funding or permitting is anticipated, so compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) will not be required.
Pape-Dawson archaeologists conducted field investigations within the project area intermittently from April 1 through August 15, 2019. A total of 164 shovel tests was excavated, 28 of which were positive for cultural resources. One isolated find was recorded, and nine sites were revisited (Sites 41BX722, 41BX723, 41BX725, 41BX728, 41BX739, 41BX740, 41BX741, 41BX742, and 41BX745). No new archaeological sites were recorded. The isolated find consisted of a single secondary flake. All revisited sites were prehistoric with an undetermined temporal affiliation, although site 41BX722 also has an unknown historic component.
Sites 41BX722, 41BX723, and 41BX741 consist of primarily surficial lithic scatters of indeterminate temporal affiliation. Site 41BX722 also contains historic rock alignments on either side of a road, and site recorders observed a flake and three pieces of fire cracked rock (FCR) from 0-10 centimeters below ground surface (cmbs). No artifacts or features were observed at any of these sites during the current revisit.
Site 41BX725 is a prehistoric lithic scatter of undetermined temporal affiliation. Current investigations documented lithic shatter, a few flakes, and FCR from 0-60 cmbs. Cultural materials extended deeper than 20 cmbs in only two shovel tests. Nearly half of the artifacts recovered from shovel tests were from the upper 10 cm of soil. No diagnostic artifacts or features were observed at this site.
Site 41BX728 is a lithic scatter and possible lithic procurement site of undetermined temporal affiliation. During the current investigations, a single chert scraper was found at approximately 50 cmbs. No diagnostic artifacts or features were observed at this site. Only a small section of this previously recorded site extends into the current project area.
Originally recorded as a lithic scatter from an unknown time period, site 41BX739 was combined with site 41BX740 (also a lithic scatter) during the current revisit due to the presence of artifacts between the two site boundaries. Surface artifacts included two bifaces, two tested cobbles, 4 primary flakes, twelve secondary flakes, three tertiary flakes, 3 cores, two core fragments, and a piece of chert shatter. Subsurface artifacts were found between 0-50 cmbs, but these deeper deposits were observed in areas of colluvial deposition.
Site 41BX742 is a campsite of indeterminate temporal affiliation. The current survey found subsurface deposits that included two primary flakes, charcoal, shatter, and FCR from 0-40 cmbs. An informal end scraper and three pieces of FCR were also observed on surface.
Site 41BX745 is a lithic scatter and campsite that is a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) and potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The original work revealed cultural deposits were present deeper than 90 cmbs, and noted lithic debitage and FCR at the site. As only a sliver of the site extended into the current project area, a single shovel test was excavated and found to be negative for cultural materials. No artifacts were observed on surface.
Due to the lack of artifacts and features at 41BX722, 41BX723, and 41BX741, the portions of these sites that are within the current project area are recommended ineligible for SAL designation. In addition, for the portion of 41BX728 within the project area and for site 41BX742, the paucity of artifacts and lack of features suggest the they are not eligible for SAL designation. Although slightly more deeply buried deposits exist at sites 41BX725 and 41BX740, the deeper deposits were in colluvial settings, and the lack of diagnostic artifacts and features suggest neither site is eligible for listing as a SAL. Site 41BX745 is listed as a SAL. Archaeologists recommend the portion of 41BX745 within the project area to be eligible as a SAL and recommend avoidance for the part of this site that extends into the current project area.
Although the sites (or portions of sites) within the current project area do not appear to meet the criteria to be listed as SALs (with the exception of site 41BX745), several of these sites extend outside the current project area. As a result, while Pape-Dawson archaeologists recommend no further work for these sites within the project area, they also recommend that if impacts will occur outside current project area boundaries, these sites be revisited. Site 41BX745 should be avoided by construction due to its SAL status. Within the current project area, if evidence of cultural material is encountered during construction, it is recommended that all work in the vicinity should cease and the CPS archaeologist be contacted.
No artifacts were collected , but records and photographs will be curated at the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) in San Antonio, Texas.
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