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Archaeological Investigation of the Comal ISD Middle School #8 (Milam Tract) Bulverde, Comal County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of Comal Independent School District (Comal ISD), Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. (Pape-Dawson) conducted an archaeological investigation for the proposed Comal ISD Middle School #8 (Milam Tract) Project (Project) in Bulverde, Comal County, Texas. The Project consists of the construction of a new middle school complex, sports field, water detention basin, portable building space, water storage tank, and associated driveways and utilities within a 14.1-hectare (ha; 35.8-acre [ac]) tract of land (Project Area) east of the intersection of US 281 and Ancestral Trail. As the Project is still within the design phase, the maximum depth of impact for the Project is not presently defined but will vary across the Project Area.
As the Project will take place on land owned by Comal ISD (a political subdivision of the state of Texas), compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas, as administered by the Texas Historical Commission (THC), is required. No federal permitting or funding is anticipated for the Project, which would necessitate compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Consistent with state regulatory review, the purpose of the investigation was to identify archaeological sites (if present) within the Project Area and assess the potential for the proposed Project to impact archaeological sites listed or considered eligible for listing as State Antiquities Landmarks or within the National Register of Historic Places.
The archaeological investigation for the Project consisted of a background study and an intensive pedestrian survey supplemented by systematic shovel testing. Per the research design approved by the THC on October 22, 2020, a reduced number of shovel tests were excavated to target portions of the Project Area with the highest potential for soil deposition. Archaeological survey of the Project Area occurred on October 27, 2020. A total of 10 shovel tests were excavated under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 9658 in accordance with the Council of Texas Archeologists (CTA) Intensive Terrestrial Survey Guidelines (CTA 2020). Pape-Dawson archaeologist, Dr. Karissa Basse, supervised all tasks and served as Principal Investigator for the Project. Project Archaeologist Jacob Sullivan and Archaeological Technician Mikayla Mathews conducted the fieldwork and assisted with report production and preparation of map exhibits. Zachary Overfield served as the Project Manager, managing client and agency coordination for the Project and providing senior oversight. THC concurred with the results of this report on December 9, 2020.
The investigation did not result in the identification of cultural materials or the documentation of any archaeological sites; therefore, Pape-Dawson recommends that no additional work is warranted within the Project Area, as currently defined. However, if undiscovered archaeological deposits or human remains are encountered during construction, all work in the vicinity should cease and the discovery should be evaluated by a qualified archaeologist who can provide guidance on how to proceed in accordance with applicable state regulations. Records generated for the Project will be curated at the University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Archaeological Research in accordance with THC requirements for State Held-in-Trust Collections.
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