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Cultural Resources Monitoring for the San Antonio Water Systems Sewer Line Repair Project, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Raba Kistner, Inc. (RKI) was contracted by K-Friese + Associates (CLIENT), on behalf of San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) to conduct archaeological monitoring for emergency repairs to a collapsed sewer lateral within West Houston Street in downtown San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. The project involved the excavation of the area around the collapsed portion of the sewer lateral and the replacement of the damaged line. The project is located within the boundaries of a Catholic Cemetery and is between Milam Square (41BX991), which is a historic cemetery, and an area of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where the first City Cemeteries have been documented. As such, the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation (COSA OHP) required the monitoring of the excavation activities.
The proposed project is located on lands controlled by the City of San Antonio and work was conducted by SAWS, both entities of the State of Texas. As such, the project falls under the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) (Texas Natural Resource Code, Title 9, Chapter 191). Furthermore, the project was also subject to review under Chapter 35 of the City of San Antonio’s Unified Development Code (UDC) (Article VI, Historic Preservation and Urban Design). All work was conducted in accordance with the Archeological Survey Standards for Texas as set forth by the Council of Texas Archeologists (CTA) and the THC under Texas Antiquities Committee Permit Number 9209.
A desktop review was conducted to determine if any previously conducted archaeological investigations or any cultural resources had been documented within the APE. Review of the Texas Archeological Sites Atlas (Atlas), revealed that no previous archaeological surveys have been conducted within the APE and that no previously recorded archaeological sites have been documented within the APE.
Cultural resources monitoring investigations for the project were conducted on December 21 and 22, 2019, and January 14, 2020. Antonio Padilla served as Project Manager and Principal Investigator, and all field work was conducted by Lindy Martinez and Susan Sincerbox. The undertaking involved the excavation of an approximately 34-foot-long (10 meter [m]-) north-south, 2.5–to–9-foot-wide east-west (0.5–to–2.74 m-) trench that extended from the sewer main located near the center of West Houston Street to the clean out located under the sidewalk north of West Houston Street. For archaeological purposes the Area of Potential Effects (APE) consisted of approximately 800 square feet or 0.018 acres. The depths of impacts reached a depth of 6 feet (1.8 m) below surface.
During the investigations, it was discovered that the entire APE has been heavily impacted by previous construction events and the installation of utilities. Throughout the excavations, construction gravels reaching a depth of 6 feet (1.8 m) below surface were observed within the entire APE, and several utilities were encountered. No intact soils were present within the trench. It appears that previous construction events and installation of utilities have removed all intact soils to the depth reached by the trench. Due to the absence of intact soils, no soils were screened. Additionally, no cultural materials or cultural features were observed during the monitoring of the excavations.
RKI has made a reasonable and good faith effort identifying cultural resources within the APE. No significant deposits or features were identified during cultural resource monitoring. As a result, RKI does not recommend further archaeological investigations within the APE. However, should changes be made to the APE, further work may be required. No diagnostic artifacts were collected during the course of the investigations, thus, no artifacts will be curated at the completion of the project. All field records generated during this project will be permanently curated at the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
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