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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. (Horizon) was selected by Malone/Wheeler, Inc. on behalf of the Lake Travis Independent School District (LTISD) to conduct an intensive cultural resources inventory and assessment for the proposed construction of an approximately 0.4-hectare (1.0-acre) storm water detention pond. The proposed storm water detention pond would be located off the northwestern side of Hamilton Pool Road (a.k.a. Farm-to-Market Road [FM] 3238) near its intersection with the future right-of-way (ROW) of Vail Divide in western Bee Cave, Travis County, Texas. For purposes of the cultural resources survey, the project area is considered to consist of the entire 0.4-hectare (1.0-acre) storm water detention pond footprint. The proposed undertaking is being sponsored by LTISD, a political subdivision of the state of Texas; as such, the project falls under the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Code of Texas. At this time, no federal permits, funding, or licenses have been identified for the project. As the project represents a publicly sponsored undertaking with the potential to impact potentially significant cultural resources, the project sponsor was required to perform a cultural resources inventory and assessment of the project area. On June 24, 2020, Horizon archeological technician Jacob Lyons, under the overall direction of Jeffrey D. Owens, Principal Investigator, performed an intensive cultural resources survey of the project area to locate any cultural resources that potentially would be impacted by the proposed undertaking. The survey was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 9492. Horizon’s archeologist traversed the 0.4-hectare (1.0-acre) project area and thoroughly inspected the modern ground surface for aboriginal and historic-age cultural resources. The project area is situated on a limestone upland overlooking an unnamed tributary of Hickson Hollow. The project area has been heavily disturbed from prior construction, use, and maintenance of a gravel parking lot, a circular animal pen, several cinder block walls, and a well associated with a business (Bee Cave Acupuncture) that was formerly housed in a residential-style structure just northwest of the project area. Vegetation consisted of live oak, Ashe juniper, acacia, Roosevelt weed, prickly pear cactus, planted ornamental bamboo, and medium-high grasses. Visibility of the modern ground surface ranged from poor to good (30 to 60%) depending on the density of vegetative ground cover. Limestone gravels associated with a former parking lot that occupied most of the project area from the early 2000s until 2010, when the nearby structure that housed the Bee Cave Acupuncture business was abandoned, cover much of the project area. Exposures of limestone bedrock and gravels are present on the modern ground surface in the eastern corner of the project area, which was less disturbed by construction associated with the acupuncture business. In addition to pedestrian walkover, the Texas State Minimum Archeological Survey Standards (TSMASS) call for excavation of a minimum of two shovel tests per 0.4 hectare (1.0 acre) for projects measuring 10.1 hectares (25.0 acres) or less in size plus one additional shovel test per 2.0 hectares (5.0 acres) above 10.1 hectares (25.0 acres). As such, a minimum of two shovel tests would be required within the current 0.4-hectare (1.0-acre) project area. Horizon excavated a total of seven shovel tests during the survey, thereby exceeding the TSMASS requirements for a project area of this size. The pedestrian survey and shovel testing revealed heavily disturbed sediments containing abundant gravels from the former parking lot. Native sediments underlying the parking lot gravels and in less disturbed portions of the project area consist of shallow deposits of gravelly dark brown to pale yellowish-brown marly clay loam overlying either pale gray marly sandy clay or limestone bedrock at depths ranging from 5.0 to 35.0 centimeters (1.9 to 13.8 inches) below surface. It is Horizon’s opinion that shovel testing was capable of fully penetrating sediments with the potential to contain archeological deposits. No cultural resources of prehistoric or historic age were observed on the modern ground surface or within any of the shovel tests excavated within the project area. Prior to the mid-1990s, the project area was characterized by an undeveloped, lightly wooded scrubland setting. Between 1995 and 2002, a large house was constructed just outside the northwestern corner of the project area. It is unknown if this this house initially served as a residence, but by the early 2000s the structure was utilized as a commercial storefront for Bee Cave Acupuncture. At that time, the project area itself was devegetated and graded, and a circular cattle pen, various linear cinder block wall features, a water pump and network of polyvinyl chloride water pipes, and gravel driveways were added. In addition, a stock pond was created to the east of the project area in the eastern corner of the overall parcel. Between 2003 and 2005, the gravel driveways were expanded into a large gravel parking lot that covered most of the project area. The Bee Cave Acupuncture business moved to its current location on Bee Cave Parkway just north of the intersection of State Highway (SH) 71 in 2010, and the original structure has remained unoccupied ever since. All of the cultural features observed within the project area are modern. Based on the results of the survey-level investigations documented in this report, no potentially significant cultural resources would be affected by the proposed undertaking. In accordance with 36 CFR 800.4, Horizon has made a reasonable and good-faith effort to identify historic properties within the project area. No cultural resources were identified that meet the criteria for listing on the NRHP according to 36 CFR 60.4 or for designation as SALs according to 13 TAC 26. Horizon recommends a finding of “no historic properties affected,” and no further archeological work is recommended in connection with the proposed undertaking. However, human burials, both prehistoric and historic, are protected under the Texas Health and Safety Code. In the event that any human remains or burial objects are inadvertently discovered at any point during construction, use, or ongoing maintenance in the project area, even in previously surveyed areas, all work should cease immediately in the vicinity of the inadvertent discovery, and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) should be notified immediately. Following completion of the project, project records will be prepared for permanent curation at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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