An Archaeological Survey of the CPS Energy Easement for Project F041, Copper Conductor Replacement, off FM 3009 in Comal County, Texas
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"The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Archaeological Research (CAR), in response to a request from Adams Environmental, Inc. (AEI), conducted an intensive archaeological survey of a tract of land on Wuest Ranch, along FM 3009 in Comal County, Texas. CPS Energy plans to install 31 new poles and replace one pole on a CPS Energy easement through private property. The project, known as F041 Copper Conductor Replacement (Phase II Project at FM 3009, WR#40059208), required review by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) under the Antiquities Code of Texas (Texas Natural Resource Code, Title 9, Chapter 191, Sections 191.003(4) and 191.052(5) as amended) because CPS Energy is a political subdivision of Texas. The THC issued Texas Antiquities Permit No. 9278 to Dr. Raymond Mauldin who served as the Principal Investigator. Leonard Kemp served as the Project Archaeologist. The field investigation was conducted on February 21, 2020. CAR initially excavated 27 shovels tests within the Project Area which is 0.74 ha (1.84 acres) in size. CAR defined four new archaeological sites 41CM423, 41CM424, 41CM425, and 41CM426 based on shovel tests and surface artifacts. Two of the sites are prehistoric lithic scatters (41CM423 and 41CM425), while the other two sites (41CM424 and 41CM426) are characterized as a quarry site and lithic reduction site, respectively. Site 41CM426 was recommended for further study because it contained subsurface deposits, and it was in an area that would be impacted by the excavation of two utility poles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was delayed and disrupted. As a result of the disruption, the excavation for utility poles occurred without proper notification and an archaeological monitor was not present on site. Upon discovery, CAR proposed to CPS Energy and THC, in consultation with AEI, that additional shovel tests and examination of the spoils pile of the utility poles were necessary to assess the damage and determine the site’s eligibility status. CAR excavated five additional shovel tests on 41CM426. Based on the findings from the survey and damage assessment, CAR recommends that sites 41CM423, 41CM424, 41CM425, and 41CM426 are not eligible for listing as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) or to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). All sites lack temporally diagnostic artifacts or features, and while 41CM426 does have buried material, it appears to be primarily confined to the upper 20 cm below surface. The THC concurred with that recommendation. As the project was conducted on private property, all recovered artifacts were returned to the landowner. All other project related materials, including the final report, are curated at CAR’s curation facility. The facility is a state certified repository. The project accession number is 2402."