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An Intensive Cultural Resources Survey of the Pugh Park Trails, Tom Green County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of Tom Green County, Galindo Environmental Consulting, LLC (Galindo Environmental) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey of the Pugh Park Trails Project in Tom Green County, Texas. Trail improvements are proposed for the existing 10-foot-wide trail on both sides of Farm-to-Market Road 2084 (FM 2084; signed Toe Nail Trail) at Pugh Park, with a new 0.6-mile segment of trail planned for the west side. The existing trail on the east side of FM 2084 traverses Christoval High School property and is about 1.13 miles long, while the length of existing trails within Pugh Park on the west side of the road totals 1.35 miles. The park is situated along the left (eastern) bank of the South Concho River, about 0.7 mile southeast of the intersection of U.S. Highway 277 and Main Street. Tom Green County proposes using federal funding through the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TPWD). Based on Tom Green County’s status as a political subdivision of the state, compliance with both Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) was necessary. All work was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8900 with Dr. Mary Jo Galindo serving as Principal Investigator.
The Area of Potential Effects (APE) totals 7.44 acres and is defined as the 10-foot-wide trail plus a 5-foot buffer on either side (for a total width of 20 feet), a total length of 3.07 miles, and with a depth of impact of up to 3.28 feet (1 meter). The goal of the survey was to locate all prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the APE, determine their extent, and evaluate their significance and eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or for designation as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL).
The background review determined that a 450-foot segment of the APE had been surveyed in 2012 on behalf of Tom Green County, and that prehistoric site 41TG581 was recorded within the current APE during a 2006 survey on behalf of Tom Green County Fresh Water District Number 2, which was adjacent for 100 feet along the northern boundary of the current APE. No sites, districts, or properties listed on the NRHP, SALs, RTHLs, or cemeteries are within the study radius; however, one OTHM and that commemorates the Christoval Baptist Church is 0.3 km north of the APE.
Fieldwork was conducted during May 7 and 8, 2019. A total of 41 shovel tests was excavated throughout the APE. Four shovel tests were positive for prehistoric lithic artifacts and historic-age glass shards, but extensive prior disturbances were noted throughout the APE, and the assemblage does not include temporally diagnostic artifacts. Nine prehistoric lithic artifacts were in two shovel tests, and four mortar holes in exposed bedrock were encountered at site 41TG581. Three other shovel tests contained colorless windowpane, brown bottle, and milk glass shards that were recorded as the site’s historic component.
As a result of the survey, the boundary of site 41TG581 was revised to include the positive shovel tests and the mortar hole locations. The four mortar holes are assessed as significant features that have not commonly been documented in the area, and that are indicative of a more sedentary or seasonal occupation. Alternatively, the historic component of site 41TG581 is comprised of glass shards that generally date from the early- to the mid-twentieth century.
Based on the sparse nature of the prehistoric component of the site, the absence of diagnostic artifacts or intact buried prehistoric features, the lack of integrity of the historic component, and the lack of an association with an historically significant person or event, site 41TG581 is recommended not eligible for listing in the NRHP or for designation as an SAL. The four prehistoric mortar holes, however, are assessed as significant bedrock features, given their rarity, and are recommended for preservation in the future. An interpretive sign for the mortar holes is also recommended given their proximity to the new trail segment.
In accordance with 36 CFR 800.4, Galindo Environmental has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify archaeological historic properties within the APE. The bedrock mortar hole features of site 41TG581 are evaluated as significant and recommended for preservation and interpretive signage, but otherwise, no properties were identified that meet the criteria for listing in the NRHP, according to 36 CFR 60.4, or for designation as an SAL, according to 13 TAC 26.12. Galindo Environmental recommends avoidance of the mortar holes, which are situated within Pugh Park, and that no further cultural resources investigations are necessary within the project APE. If avoidance of the mortar holes is not possible, further archaeological work in consultation with the Texas Historical Commission (THC) may be necessary. If any archeological materials are inadvertently uncovered during the proposed activities, construction should cease and THC personnel should be notified immediately. No artifacts were collected during this survey; project records and photographs will be curated at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos.
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