Archaeological Monitoring of Tree Plantings at Selected San Antonio Parks, Bexar County, Texas
From November 9, 2010, through March 13, 2016, the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) of The University of Texas at San Antonio intermittently conducted archaeological monitoring for the City of San Antonio Tree Planting Initiative. This initiative was designed to improve San Antonio’s tree canopy across all 10 City Council Districts. The archaeological project involved monitoring the excavation of holes for the planting of 1,085 trees within multiple parks and cemeteries throughout the city. Archaeologists targeted monitoring locations identified to have a moderate-to-high probability of containing buried cultural deposits. The project was sponsored by the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department and was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 5786. Dr. Steve Tomka was the original permit holder. After Tomka’s departure from CAR, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) permit was transferred to Dr. Raymond Mauldin in 2015. In addition, at the request of Sara Ludena (Project Reviewer, South Texas Region) of the Architecture Division of the THC, a historic structures permit (No. 790) was obtained for tree planting in Brackenridge Park due to the number (n=22) of trees to be planted at the historic park. The first of the monitoring occurred from November 9, 2010, through March 5, 2011. Cathy A. Stacy served as the monitor during this phase of the investigations. Mechanical auger bores (n=848) were excavated to facilitate the planting of trees in Olmos Basin Park, Mahncke Park, San Pedro Springs Park, Crockett Park, City Cemetery No. 3, Roosevelt Park, San José Burial Park, Espada Park, and Stinson Park. Cultural material was encountered at City Cemetery No. 3, though it was not associated with intact deposits nor were the finds significant. The different types of material were documented, but not collected. The second phase of monitoring took place on January 17, 2013. Justin Blomquist served as the monitor. Ninety-two mechanical auger bores were excavated for the planting of trees in City Cemetery No. 4, Confederate Cemetery, and City Cemetery No. 6. No historic or prehistoric deposits were identified during the excavations, and no temporally diagnostic artifacts were recovered during the monitoring. The third phase of monitoring was conducted in 2016, and Antonia L. Figueroa served as the Project Archaeologist. Tree planting activities in Brackenridge Park Lambert Beach, City Cemetery No. 1, No. 3, No. 6, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery were monitored. During this phase, 145 auger bores were excavated. No intact historic or prehistoric deposits were identified during the excavations, and no temporally diagnostic artifacts were recovered during monitoring. CAR recommends no additional work at this time, though additional excavations in high probability areas could require monitoring. All project-related documentation are permanently curated at the CAR facility.