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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

AECOM was contracted by the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District (UBCWCID) to conduct a cultural resources survey for the proposed Dam No. 101 project, located in Williamson County, Texas. AECOM evaluated a 189-acre area of potential effects (APE), which includes the conceptual dam footprint plus a 150-foot (ft) buffer, the inundation area, and any additional areas that could be potentially affected by key construction activities. The project is bisected by O’Conner Drive on the north side of State Highway 45 and partially overlaps the existing Dam No. 9. AECOM conducted an intensive cultural resources survey within the APE from September 16 – 20, 2019. The objectives of the survey were to inventory any archaeological and historic resources within the APE and to evaluate their eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and for designation as State Antiquities Landmarks (SALs). All work was performed in accordance with Texas Historical Commission (THC) Archeological Survey Standards for Texas. The survey was completed under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8855 and utilized a combination of pedestrian survey methods and the systematic excavation of 78 shovel tests.

No new archaeological sites were identified during the survey. However, the survey revisited four previously recorded archaeological sites, including 41WM748, 41WM750, 41WM1058, and 41WM1248. These sites are within, or are partially within, the portion of the APE located east of O’Connor Drive. Each of these sites has been impacted by erosion and natural weathering, and all the site components were found to be resting on either limestone and eroded soils surfaces, or within shallow (<30 cm) soils. Due to these factors, the sites do not exhibit integrity. Due to the absence of temporally diagnostic artifacts and features, these sites are not likely to yield information important to prehistory. Based on the current investigations, we recommend that sites 41WM748, 41WM750, 41WM1058, and 41WM1248 are ineligible for listing in the NRHP and do not merit designation as SALs. In addition, the two prehistoric isolated finds (IF-1 and IF-2) identified during the survey are recommended as ineligible for NRHP listing and SAL designation. Finally, two historic-age resources, including Dam No. 9 (Resource 001) and a corral (Resource 002), were recorded during the survey and evaluated by an architectural historian. Both resources are assessed as failing to meet NRHP criteria of eligibility and are recommended as ineligible for listing in the NRHP.

Right-of-entry could not be obtained for the portion of the APE on the west side of O’Connor Drive, which contains one previously recorded archaeological site (41WM1057), and one NRHP-eligible structure (ca. 1950 Agricultural Building). In 2004, the THC determined site 41WM1057 to be ineligible. Based on the current plans, no construction will take place in the APE west of O’Connor Drive. Since no significant hydrological changes would occur in this area as a result of Dam 101 construction, no impacts to these sites are anticipated and no archaeological survey is currently warranted.

A field geomorphic assessment was conducted and revealed that the APE contains thin and eroded soils that formed in residuum weathered from Cretaceous limestone. Along Lake Creek, the soils consist of shallow, gravelly deposits confined to a relatively narrow flood surface. Given the residual nature and ancient age of the APE soils, the absence of deep alluvial deposits, and the high-energy flood discharge regime evidenced in creek bank profiles, the APE does not exhibit the pedologic and geomorphic conditions necessary for the deep burial and preservation of cultural deposits. It is therefore unlikely that any archaeological sites in these areas would exhibit the integrity necessary to be considered eligible for the NRHP or to merit SAL designation. No backhoe trenching is recommended for this project.

Based on the results of the survey, the proposed project should have No Effect on historic properties or SALs. AECOM recommends that construction can proceed without further cultural resources investigations. However, should the dimensions of the project area change, additional archaeological and historical investigations may be warranted. If any unmarked prehistoric or historic human remains or burials are encountered at any point during the project, the area of the remains is considered a cemetery under current Texas law and all construction activities must cease immediately to avoid impacting the remains. The THC must be notified immediately by contacting the Archeology Division at (512) 463-6096. All cemeteries are protected under State law and cannot be disturbed. Further protection is provided in Section 28.03(f) of the Texas Penal Code, which provides that intentional damage or destruction inflicted on a human burial site is a state jail felony.

No artifacts were collected during the survey. All correspondence, field records, and photographs generated during field investigations were prepared for permanent curation at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.

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

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