Archaeology of the Brasada: A cultural resources assessment of the Chevron Resources Company properties in northeastern Duval County, Texas

McGraw, A. Joachim
Van Note, Beverly J.
Jones, Courtenay J.
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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio

A cultural resources survey of 4000 acres in northeastern Duval County was conducted by archaeologIsts from the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR), The University of Texas at San Antomo (UTSA), from October through early December 1981. Following a contract Service Order S87178 dated August 31, 1981, between Mr. Lonnie Tracy of the Chevron Resources Company and Dr. Thomas Hester, CAR director, personnel from the CAR began archaeological investigations of five adjoining properties north of State Highway 44, approximately half way between the town of Freer and the county seat of San Diego. The field survey was conducted by A. Joachim McGraw and Daniel Potter, research associates, and Courtenay Jones, technical staff assistant, of the CAR. Dr. Thomas R. Hester, director, and Jack D. Eaton, associate director, provided general supervision of the project. All work was conducted as per the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, and the Vernon Texas Civil Statute 4590f, as amended. Considerations were also given to the Guidelines for Archeological Investigations of Mining Areas in Texas (Texas Historical Commission 1981) as these Chevron-leased properties were to be extensively modified by proposed mining operations. The purpose of the survey work was threefold: (1) to identify and record all archaeological resources (historic and prehistoric) within the project area; (2) to assess the cultural significance of these resources; and (3) to make recommendations for further action as necessary should these resources be significant. The investigated area was characterized by vast upland expanses of chest-high (or higher), often extremely dense, thorny brush on rolling hills. No permanent water courses were located in the study area, although dry Los Incinitos (may be misspelled, illegible at the Texas Land Office) Creek and several ephemeral tributaries bisected the lower portions of the survey properties. A large portion of the study area was gridded by a series of mostly parallel senderos often as close as 25 to 50 m. Originally cleared by personnel and equipment from the Chevron Resources Company, these senderos were quickly exploited by the archaeological survey crew. The senderos, when available, provided a systematic means of ground coverage through what otherwise would have been almost impenetrable brush. Based on the goals previously stated, four specific survey methods were employed during operations: (1) the entire project area was surveyed by a series of systematic transects; (2) the surface extent of all cultural resources was determined and plotted on USGS 1:24,000 scale topographic maps; (3) limited surface collections and spot shovel tests were made when necessary to further evaluate site descriptions; and (4) preliminary archival research was initiated to identify potential historic resources as well as to determine the historical background of the project area. Research methodology followed the guidelines presented in Hester, Heizer, and Graham's Field Methods in Archaeology (1975) and the Council of Texas Archeologists' (1981:I-III) guidelines. Field operations consisted of a series of systematic transects (employing senderos whenever possible) with a primary emphasis on the collection of diagnostic or otherwise significant artifacts. Site elevations as well as distances from water sources (intermittent) in the study location were recorded. Twenty-five sites were identified, recorded, and assessed during the course of the survey. These sites are plotted in Figure 1. Data from all identified sites were recorded on standard site survey forms used by the Center; these survey forms, all collected materials, and additional records are curated and permanently housed at the CAR-UTSA. A brief summary of general site characteristics as well as related background information and recommendations for further work are presented in the following pages.

archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, Indians of North America, Duval County