An Archaeological Survey and Resource Assessment of 1,445 Acres in Southern Bexar County, Texas
The Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) performed an archaeological survey of 1,445 acres within a 1,833-acre Project Area south of Mission Espada in Bexar County, Texas. Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux served as the Principal Investigator for the project, and Antonia L. Figueroa served as the Project Archaeologist. The survey was conducted in 2016 and 2017 on behalf of REDUS Texas Land, LLC (REDUS). The Survey Area is not within the City of San Antonio (COSA). However, COSA has review authority under the auspices of the Espada Conservation Subdivision Master Development Plan (2008). Therefore, CAR consulted with the COSA Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) prior to the start of the project. The principal goal of the survey was to document prehistoric and historic archaeological resources in the area that may be impacted by future development. CAR surveyed roughly 1,445 acres of the Project Area. About 384 acres were excluded from the survey as they were identified as a likely conservation easement. In addition, a small previously surveyed area associated with a hike and bike trail was excluded. Two different survey methods were used. About 518 acres recently had been plowed and were under cultivation. In these areas, CAR personnel walked transects spaced at 15 meters (m). Thirty-seven shovel tests were excavated in these fields to look for potential sites based on the exposure of material by the plow. In the remaining area, visibility was limited. CAR used 30-m transects and excavated 177 shovel tests in this 927-acre area. CAR completed archival research, conducted an oral history interview with a longtime resident of the area, processed two radiocarbon samples from profiles, and reviewed the west bank of the San Antonio River, which forms a portion of the eastern boundary of the larger Project Area, for archaeological deposits. Within the 1,445-acre Survey Area, CAR defined four new historic sites (41BX2145, 41BX2146, 41BX2147, and 41BX2149), three new prehistoric sites (41BX2148, 41BX2190, and 41BX2191), and observed several irrigation ditches, including the Espada Acequia (41BX269) and a previously recorded ditch (41BX1796). CAR also identified a low-density background scatter of historic and prehistoric isolated artifacts. A fourth prehistoric site, 41BX2200, was recorded along the riverbank and is represented by a radiocarbon date of 3516 +/- 34 (3884-3696 cal BP) on a buried feature, along with a core and burned rock below the river cut. With the exception of sites 41BX269 (Espada Acequia) and the Late Archaic deposit on 41BX2200, none of the sites appear to contain significant data. However, two of the sites (41BX2190 and 41BX2191) have not been shovel tested, as they were discovered during site revisits. In addition, given the exposure patterns and the potential for burial of material in this Project Area, CAR suggests that there is a moderate likelihood that buried cultural deposits are present in many sections of the Survey Area. Backhoe trenching should be conducted to eliminate areas of concern, especially if impacts greater than 60 cm are to occur. Finally, note that all collected artifacts and records generated during this project were prepared for curation according to Texas Historical Commission (THC) guidelines. The artifacts and records are permanently curated at CAR as Accession no. 1947, consistent with an agreement with the property owner.