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Archaeological Survey for the Lower Greens Bayou Trail Project, Segments GR02 and GR03, in Harris County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Over several mobilizations between April 2018 and January 2020, Gray & Pape, Inc., of Houston, Texas, conducted an intensive pedestrian cultural resources survey of two segments (Segments GR02 and GR03) of proposed trail development along Lower Greens Bayou in the City of Houston, Harris County, Texas. The project alignment measures approximately 10.8 kilometers (6.7 miles) in length and encompasses approximately 9.6 hectares (23.7 acres) of area. Another 0.6 kilometers (0.4 miles) or 0.6 hectares (1.4 acres) of project alignment was removed from consideration. In total, approximately 11.4 kilometers (7.1 miles) or 10.2 hectares (25.1 acres) was surveyed for the project. Because the proposed trail development occurs on publicly owned properties a Texas Antiquities Code Permit was required prior to survey. All work was completed under Texas Antiquities Permit #8328, which was assigned by the Texas Historical Commission on February 14, 2018.
Fieldwork and reporting activities were performed according to procedures set forth by the Texas Historical Commission and the Council of Texas Archeologists. The goals of the survey were to establish whether or not previously unidentified archaeological resources were located within the project area, also defined as the project’s Area of Potential Effects, and whether the proposed development would affect any previously identified cultural resources.
Prior to fieldwork, site file and background research was conducted, including a review of historic aerial and topographic maps in an attempt to locate any historic structures associated with the Area of Potential Effects. Site file review and background research indicated that there are no previously recorded sites within the project Area of Potential Effects.
Fieldwork took place between April 10, 2018 and January 7, 2020 and consisted of a combination of pedestrian survey and shovel testing. Systematic shovel testing was performed along a single transect over both project segments resulting in 131 shovel tests being excavated, of which 11 were positive for cultural material. The survey revealed that large portions of both project segments have been heavily disturbed by development and flood events, however, three new archaeological sites, 41HR1234, 41HR1235, and 41HR1236, and one historic Isolate were identified as a result of survey. Site 41HR1234 was identified as a mid-twentieth century historic trash midden. Site 41HR1235 was identified as a Late Prehistoric ephemeral campsite. Site 41HR1236 was identified as a multicomponent prehistoric campsite and historic isolate. Diagnostic artifacts were observed at all three sites; however, it is the recommendation of Gray & Pape, Inc. that only Sites 41HR1235 and 41HR1236 are significant in the materials they contain and their potential to offer additional research potential. Direct impacts to both sites have been avoided by the project alignment as currently planned. While indirect impacts such as looting are a concern, the distance between the sites and the current alignment as well the density of woods surrounding them minimizes the danger as a result of the project. Eligibility testing is recommended for the sites if they cannot be avoided by future projects.
Based on the results of this survey, Gray & Pape, Inc. recommends that the no further cultural resources work be required for the project as currently planned and that the project be cleared to proceed. As specified under the conditions of Texas Antiquities Code Permit #8328, all project associated records are curated with the Center of Archaeological Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
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