Texas Historical Commission
Raba Kistner, Inc. (RKI) was contracted by Harris County Engineering Department (CLIENT), to conduct archaeological investigations in support of road improvements along 7 miles of existing road along Botkins, Roberts, AJ Foyt, Nichols, and Becker Roads, located in northwest Harris County, Texas. The purpose of this investigation was to identify any surface-exposed or shallowly buried cultural deposits within the limits of the proposed undertaking and, if possible, assess their significance and eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and for formal designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SALs). As the project will be conducted on publicly-owned land and is sponsored by the Harris County Engineering Department, an entity of the State of Texas, the proposed project is subject to review under the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) (Texas Natural Resources Code, Title 9, Chapter 191). 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 Texas Historical Commission (THC) under Texas Antiquities Committee Permit Number 9580.
Investigations consisted of a background review and intensive pedestrian survey augmented with shovel testing within the APE. The background review revealed that the majority of the project area is underlain by soils derived from loamy deposits of the Pliocene-age Willis Formation. Only a small portion, approximately 2,313 feet, along Nichols Road contains Holocene-age deposits. As such, in a background review submitted for consultation to the THC, RKI recommended that archaeological investigations focus on the area containing the Holocene-age deposits. Based on the information provided in the background review, the THC concurred with the recommendation. Therefore, the Area of Potential Effects (APE) for the project is defined as the 2,313-feet (705 m) portion of Nichols Road within a 75-foot (22.3 m) corridor, totaling 3.98 acres. The maximum depth of impact for proposed undertaking is 3 feet (0.91 m) below surface.
On September 3, 2020, RKI archaeologists conducted an intensive pedestrian survey augmented with shovel testing of the approximately 3.98-acre APE. Antonio E. Padilla served as the Principal Investigator for the project and all fieldwork was conducted by Staff Archaeologists Adam Birge and Charles Neel. During the survey, the APE was found to be lightly graded for existing roadbed with shoulders on the east side consisting of manicured Bermuda grass and the shoulder on the west consisting of an overgrown hedge. As a result of the survey, 12 shovel tests (AB1–AB8 and CN1–CN4) were excavated which resulted in the documentation of one isolated find (IF-01). The single IF consisted of a primary reduction flake identified at an approximate depth of 82 centimeters below surface. Due to a lack of additional cultural materials, the single flake was designated as isolated find and was not designated as an archaeological site.
RKI has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identified cultural resources within the given APE. No significant deposits or features were identified during the intensive pedestrian survey of the APE. RKI recommends no further archaeological investigations within the APE. However, should changes be made within the APE, further work may be required. All field records and photographs produced during investigations will be permanently housed at the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
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