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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

On behalf of Williamson County, AECOM was contracted by HNTB Corporation to conduct a cultural resources survey for the proposed reconstruction of the Great Oaks Drive Bridge at Brushy Creek, located in Williamson County, Texas. The purpose of this investigation was to survey and inventory archeological and historic resources and to evaluate the potential of any such resources for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and for designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SALs). AECOM conducted the cultural resources survey on September 27, 2018, under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8544. The archeological Area of Potential Effect (APE) consisted of a 13-acre environmental study area. The historic resources APE included the environmental study area plus a 150-foot buffer.

The archeological survey was completed using a combination of 100 percent pedestrian survey, augmented by the excavation of 26 shovel tests. No archeological materials were identified during the survey. Field observations included imbricated gravel layers within the narrow floodplain soils, reworked sediments, and bedrock scouring along the channel alignment that is indicative of a floodplain subjected to periodic high-energy flood discharge. Extensive disturbances such as buried utilities (natural gas line, water, electric) and mechanized impacts were also noted in the roadway right-of-way. Given these observations and the absence of sites identified during the survey, the project is not likely to contain deeply buried and intact cultural deposits, and no backhoe trenching was deemed necessary. During the historic resources reconnaissance survey, no historic resources (buildings, structures, objects, sites, or potential districts) were identified within the historic resources APE.

Based on the foregoing observations and survey results, the proposed project should have No Effect on historic properties or SALs, and no further cultural resources investigations are recommended. Should the dimensions of the project area change, additional archeological and/or historical investigations may be warranted.

In the event that any unmarked prehistoric or historic human remains or burials are encountered during construction, the area of the remains is considered a cemetery under current Texas law, and all construction activities must cease immediately so as to avoid impacting the remains. The THC must be notified immediately by contacting the History Programs Division at (512) 463-5853 and the Archeology Division at (512) 463-6096. All cemeteries are protected under State law and cannot be disturbed. Further protection is provided in Section 28.03(f) of the Texas Penal Code, which provides that intentional damage or destruction inflicted on a human burial site is a state jail felony.

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