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Cultural Resources Survey for the Proposed MUD 121 Brazos River Levee Protection Project in Fort Bend County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
This report summarizes the results of a cultural resources survey by Gray & Pape, Inc. of an approximately 14.8-hectare (36.6-acre) property in Fort Bend County, Texas, planned for a bank stabilization project on behalf of their client, Berg-Oliver Associates, Inc. The goals of the survey were to determine if the proposed project would affect any previously identified archaeological sites as defined by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (36 CFR 800), and to establish whether or not previously unidentified buried archaeological resources were located within the project’s Area of Potential Effect. Portions of the project are on property owned by Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District Number 121, political subdivisions of the state, as such, a Texas Antiquities Permit (Permit Number 8734) was required prior to the commencement of fieldwork. All fieldwork and reporting activities were completed with reference to state (the Antiquities Code of Texas) and federal guidelines.
Prior to fieldwork mobilization, a background literature and site file search were conducted to identify the presence of recorded sites and previous cultural resource surveys within or near the project area. The search indicated that no previously identified archaeological sites, cemeteries, historic markers, or National Register properties are located within the project area. The same research identified that eight previous cultural resource surveys had been conducted within the study radius of the project area, one of which overlapped with the current project area. In addition, 14 previously recorded archaeological sites are located within the study radius, none of which are located within or immediately adjacent to the current project area.
Field investigations were carried out in two mobilizations in January and December 2019 and consisted of a combination of pedestrian survey and subsurface testing, resulting in the excavation of 32 shovel tests. Five planned tests were left unexcavated due to inundation, and eight planned tests were left unexcavated due to significant surface disturbance. All shovel tests were negative for cultural resource material and no historic-age resources were identified during survey. After a revised scope of work was submitted to the Texas Historical Commission, investigation of deeply buried soils took place tandem with construction by regular monitoring of construction excavation. When the construction schedule allowed, traditional deep testing, by means of mechanical excavation, was carried out in five of six areas anticipated to have deep impacts from the proposed bank stabilization project. A total of 22 trenches were excavated. No buried features or deeply buried paleosols were encountered.
Gray & Pape, Inc. archaeologists are of the opinion that the shovel test survey and deep testing completed within the Area of Potential Effects has adequately assessed the potential for surface and near surface intact, significant cultural resources, as well as determining the potential for deeply buried resources or paleosols. No artifacts or cultural features were encountered during the course of the survey, and no new archaeological sites were identified. No negative impacts on any previously identified sites are anticipated from the proposed project. Based on these results, Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends that no further cultural work be required and that the project be cleared to proceed as planned. As required under the provisions of Texas Antiquities Code Permit 8734, all project records are housed at the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
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