Results of Archeological Significance Testing at 41TV410 and 41TV540 and Associated Geomorphological Investigations on a Segment of Onion Creek in Travis County, Texas




Figueroa, Antonia L.
Mauldin, Raymond P.
Frederick, Charles D.
Tomka, Steve A.
Thompson, Jennifer L.

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


In late 2005, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) contracted the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio (CAR-UTSA) to conduct significance testing at 41TV410 and 41TV540, two prehistoric archeological sites located in the floodplain of Onion Creek in southeast Austin in Travis County. The work was conducted in advance of a borrow pit excavation related to the construction on State Highway (SH) 130. The borrow pit represented a project specific location (PSL). PSLs are normally not part of the project per Federal Highway Administration policy. PSLs are the responsibility of the contractor in most cases. However, the testing reported here was mandated by language of the SH 130 comprehensive development agreement. Significance testing was performed late in 2005 and early in 2006. For 41TV540, Dr. Raymond Mauldin served as Principal Investigator and Jennifer Thompson served as the Project Archeologist. At 41TV410, Dr. Mauldin served as Project Archeologist and Dr. Steve Tomka served as Principal Investigator. The archeological work at these sites was not under the purview of either Section 106 or the Antiquities Code of Texas. The work was not conducted under a Texas Antiquities Permit. However, testing at both sites was conducted in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation and guidelines provided by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). CAR completed fieldwork in early January of 2006. At 41TV410, 11 features were uncovered with radiocarbon dates that fell in the Early/Middle Archaic and in the Late Archaic. Recovery of artifacts and ecofacts was extremely low. The 41TV540 work also produced a low density of chipped stone artifacts and tools, and exposed 17 features, many of which dated to the close of the Early Archaic. Preliminary observations on flotation returns suggested good quantities of burned material and faunal remains were present at 41TV540. CAR prepared post-field reports summarizing the work and provided recommendations for both sites. Because both locations appeared to contain intact deposits that could, in our view, contribute to an understanding of the prehistoric cultural development of the region, CAR recommended that the sites were eligible to the NRHP under criterion d. TxDOT agreed with CAR recommendations that 41TV540 was eligible for listing in the NRHP, though they did not request any additional work at the site. TxDOT concluded that site 41TV410 was not eligible for listing on the NRHP. At TxDOT's instruction, CAR prepared a research design for the analysis of the testing data from 41TV540, as well as a summary of the 41TV410 work. That document (Tomka et al. 2007), which outlined a series of analyses including several new geomorphic studies and a project area geomorphic synthesis, served as a guideline for the present document. Since the archeological and geomorphological investigations reported here, the construction of SH 130 has been completed and deposits containing the sites discussed have been removed. All artifacts, notes, photos, and other material associated with the project are stored at CAR. At this time, decisions regarding the disposal of selected artifact classes, as well as the location for permanent curation of the remaining artifacts and associated records, have not been made. However, it is expected that all project related records and artifacts retained will be permanently curated at CAR.



archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, archaeological surveying, Travis County