Archeological testing and data recovery at 41ZV202, Zavala County, Texas




Mauldin, Raymond P.
Greaves, Russell D.
Thompson, Jennifer L.
Munoz, Cynthia M.
Kemp, Leonard
Meissner, Barbara A.
Moses, Bruce K.
Tomka, Steve A.

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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio


At the request of the Texas Department of Transportation, Environmental Affairs Division (TxDOT-ENV), the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) conducted archeological significance testing at 41ZV202, a prehistoric site located in northwestern Zavala County, in March of 2003. The work, conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 3071 issued to Dr. Steven A. Tomka, was done in anticipation of the potential widening by TxDOT of FM 481. While materials dating to the Archaic were also present, the testing demonstrated the presence of significant Late Prehistoric (Austin Interval) deposits with good integrity within a portion of the TxDOT right-of-way (ROW). As TxDOT construction could not avoid these deposits, and as both the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and TxDOT concurred with CAR’s recommendations that the deposits were eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under criterion d of 36CFR 60.4, data recovery investigations were initiated. CAR began that work in July and August of 2003. The testing permit was amended to include the data recovery efforts. Dr. Russell Greaves served as project archeologist for both the testing and data recovery effort at 41ZV202. The testing and data recovery work consisted of the excavation of a 53-m-long Gradall trench, exposing and profiling a75-m-long road cut, and the hand excavation of 52 1 x 1 meter units that removed approximately 34.6 m3 of soil. Testing identified two large, dark stained areas designated Features 4 and 5, an associated hearth (Feature 7), and a small cluster of FCR (Feature 6). Just over 1,000 chipped stone items were recovered, including several Scallorn points, one reworked dart point, several bifaces, and two flake tools. Eleven AMS radiocarbon dates were submitted from deposits, with eight clustering around 1000 BP. Data recovery efforts defined FCR features 8 through 13. In addition, 24 arrow points, several dart points, a variety of unifacial and bifacial tools, a small number of cores, roughly 6,000 pieces of debitage, and a variety of burned sandstone, were recovered. We also collected small quantities of bone and mussel shell along with about 14,350 gastropod shells, and a variety of soil samples. Finally, all calcium carbonate nodules were retained from the screens. Following the completion of data recovery efforts, the CAR was directed by TxDOT to develop a research design for the analysis of the material from 41ZV202. TxDOT and THC accepted that research design in November of 2004, at which time the CAR began analysis and report production. Unfortunately, by 2005 project archeologist Russell Greaves had left the CAR. At that point, CAR assistant director Dr. Raymond Mauldin took over the project. The analysis of the 41ZV202 Late Prehistoric data outlined in this report is conducted in the context of a large-scale, theoretically driven model of adaptation for hunters and gatherers loosely based on aspects of Optimal Foraging Theory. In addition to 41ZV202, the approach relies on comparative data sets from Late Archaic and other Late Prehistoric sites from South and South-Central Texas to investigate shifts in subsistence, technology, and mobility across this broad region. At this time, discard decisions have not been made. However, all artifacts and associated samples collected and retained during this project, along with all project-associated documentation, are to be permanently curated at the CAR according to Texas Historical Commission guidelines.



archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, Zavala County, prehistoric