An Intensive Pedestrian Archaeological Survey of a 117-acre Park in Kendall County, Texas, 2010
Munoz, Cynthia M.
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During February 2010, The Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) conducted an intensive pedestrian archaeological survey of the Kendall County Park project located near Boerne, Texas to fulfill contract requirements with the Commissioner’s Court of Kendall County. The survey was conducted under the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 and the Texas Antiquities Code. The survey was performed under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 5540, with Dr. Raymond Mauldin, CAR Assistant Director, serving as Principal Investigator and Cynthia Moore Munoz serving as the Project Archaeologist. The work was conducted in advance of proposed improvements to the property. The park will consist of picnic areas, trails, a park road, and a two parking areas. Road improvements, parking, and trails will be designed to minimize soil disturbance and erosion. No excavation is anticipated during construction. The principal goal of the pedestrian survey was to identify and document all prehistoric and/or historic archaeological sites that may be impacted by the proposed improvements within the park. This report summarizes the results of the fieldwork and provides recommendations regarding the management of cultural resources located on the project area. Pedestrian reconnaissance, 64 shovel tests, and 2 backhoe trenches were used to search for cultural resources along the existing park road and on the 117-acre project area. Eighteen isolated surface finds, including debitage, tools, one core, and burned rock, in addition to an isolated find consisting of two mortar holes in a large boulder, were documented. The mortar holes are located in an area of exposed bedrock. No surface artifacts were noted within a 30 meter radius of the mortar holes. One new site, 41KE214, was documented within the project area. The site, consisting of a low density surface scatter of lithic debitage, tools, and burned rock without associated staining or charcoal, is located directly on the park road. Shovel tests excavated to delineate the site were all negative. No diagnostic artifacts were noted. The lack of material depth, features, and diagnostics, suggests that 41KE214 possesses a low potential for future research value and, therefore, the CAR recommends that the site be considered ineligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Two sinkholes and one cave were documented during the pedestrian reconnaissance. The openings of all three are large and the depth of each is substantial making them potential locations of prehistoric human interments. Because safety concerns prohibited subsurface investigation of the cave and sinkholes, it is not known if the geological features contain interments or other cultural materials. However, due to the preponderance of cave and sinkhole burials on the Edwards Plateau, there is some likelihood for prehistoric human use. The CAR recommends that the cave and sinkhole openings be protected to prevent exploration and looting of potential cultural material until these locations are assessed for significance. Upon completion of the CAR’s shovel testing of site 41KE214, the Texas Historic Commission requested the excavation of additional shovel tests to confirm the extent of the site and the lack of deep deposits. The CAR excavated 22 additional shovel tests on and around 41KE214 to supplement the ones excavated previously resulting in 34 shovel tests associated with the site; 10 in the boundaries and 24 in the immediate area. Of the 34 shovel tests, 1 was positive. This test, which terminated upon the exposure of bedrock at 4 cmbs, produced two pieces of debitage and a point base. The base places the site in the Transitional Archaic. After finishing the additional shovel testing, under the advisement of the THC, the CAR completed a one hundred percent surface collection of the artifacts on 41KE214 to mitigate any impacts of the proposed park road and parking area improvements and impacts from future artifact collection. Lithic material recovered from the surface consisted of 204 specimens of debitage, 2 point fragments, 7 bifaces, 3 retouched flakes, and 2 cores. The CAR, under advisement from the THC, recommends that the improvements to the existing road and the construction of the parking areas and trails proceed as proposed with the caveat that work conducted in the area of 41KE214 be monitored by personnel from the CAR to document any cultural features that may be exposed. Following laboratory processing and analysis, and in consultation with both the Commissioner’s Court of Kendall County and the Texas Historical Commission (THC), all sediment samples were discarded. This discard was in conformance with THC guidelines. All remaining archaeological samples collected by the CAR, along with all associated artifacts, documents, notes, and photographs, were prepared for curation according to THC guidelines and are permanently curated at the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The CAR requested and was assigned a trinomial (41KE214) for the site. The TexSite records are on file at The Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL).