Test Excavations at the Old Rock Store (41MC827), Tilden, McMullen County, Texas
Working on behalf of the McMullen County Historical Commission (MCHC), The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) conducted archaeological testing to locate and document the condition of the foundation of the Old Rock Store in Tilden, McMullen County, Texas. The Old Rock Store is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) and was therefore within the purview of the Antiquities Code of Texas. The project required obtaining Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8155 from the Archeology Division of the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The Area of Potential Effect (APE) included a 1.5-m (5-ft.) buffer around the perimeter of the 7.6-x-14.9 m (25-x-49 ft.) structure, which is constructed on Lot 2, Block 4, in downtown Tilden. This project was led by José Zapata, Project Archaeologist, with Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux serving as the Principal Investigator. Archaeological testing and archival research were completed between August 22 and 24, 2017. The sandstone-rubble foundation was located within 45 cm (17.7 in.) below the surface and extends to at least 65 cm (25.6 in.) below the surface. The artifact assemblage indicates that the top 45 cm (17.7 in.) of strata are mixed deposits and, owing to the foundation setting trench, the stratum at 45-75 cm (17.7-29.5 in.) is a partially intact archaeological deposit dating to the late-1800s. Since the mid-1960s, several attempts to restore and/or stabilize the building have been made. In spite of some missteps, the below-grade stones and foundation are in good condition. In terms of the date of construction, the results of this study indicate that the Old Rock Store was constructed circa 1878 and that Patrick Cavanaugh might have been the builder. The site was recorded and assigned the trinomial 41MC827. At this time, CAR recommends archaeological monitoring of below-ground excavations extending 45 cm (17.7 in.) or more below the grade. In addition, planning for future site development should consider the possibility of encountering buried features, such as privies or cisterns, which may be extant outside the current APE but within Block 4 of the town site. In accordance with the THC Permit specifications, all field notes, photographs, and other project related documents, along with a copy of the final report, will be permanently curated at the CAR facility. Currently, all recovered artifacts are planned to be loaned to the MCHC.