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Cultural Resources Monitoring for the San Antonio Light and Print Building Project, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
Over eight days in May and August 2019, and May, June, July, and September 2020 the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) at the University of Texas at San Antonio conducted archaeological monitoring in advance of the planned construction of a 3,000 square foot, five-story addition for the San Antonio Light and Print Building Project located in downtown San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. CAR was contracted by GrayStreet Partners to monitor the mechanical excavation of seven holes for piers to support an elevated walkway and mechanical trenching for the installation of utilities and a 6.1 m emergency vehicular ingress and egress easement ramp leading to a future underground parking area. The project is privately funded and located on privately owned property between Broadway Street, McCullough Avenue, N. Alamo Street, and 4th Street in downtown San Antonio. As a result, the project was not subject to regulatory review by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The project area is within the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) San Antonio Downtown and River Walk Historic District, which adjoins three other NRHP Historic Districts: Alamo Plaza, Main and Military Plaza, and La Villita. The project is subject to regulatory review by the City of San Antonio (COSA) Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) under the COSA Unified Development Code (Article 6 35-630 to 35-634). Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux, CAR Director, served as the Principal Investigator and managed the project until his departure from CAR, at which time Dr. Raymond Mauldin took over the Principal Investigator role. Jason Brian Perez served as the Project Archaeologist.
The project area was 0.47 hectare (1.15 acres). CAR monitored the mechanical drilling of the first two pier holes, it was determined that the starting elevation was approximately 4.5 m below the original ground surface, in culturally sterile sediments. The drilling of the remaining five holes was not monitored. The initial trench excavation for the easement ramp was completed without notifying CAR. A nineteenth-century privy/trash pit feature was identified in the trench wall by CAR archaeologists, and diagnostic artifacts, dating from 1870-1900, were recovered from the backfill. The privy/trash pit feature was associated with the property owned by the Hagans family from 1859-1895, and it was designated as site 41BX2362.
CAR recommends that site 41BX2362 is not eligible for NRHP or for listing as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL). The CAR recommends no additional testing within the project area and that development proceed. In the event that additional construction reveals archaeological deposits, work should cease, and the City Archaeologist of the COSA-OHP should be notified. COSAOHP concurred with these recommendations. All recovered artifacts were offered to the landowner. Because the landowner failed to respond to several requests, CAR made the decision to curate selected diagnostic artifacts and discard the remainder. All collected artifacts are documented in the CAR’s collection management database. Selected diagnostic artifacts collected from the feature and all project documentation, including photographs, field forms, and a copy of this report were prepared for curation according to THC guidelines. The artifacts and records are permanently curated at the CAR repository as accession file 2266.
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