National Register Eligibility Testing of Three Archaeological Sites on Camp Swift, Bastrop County, Texas

Kemp, Leonard
Mauldin, Raymond P.
Munoz, Cynthia M.
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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio

In October and November of 2017, the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) at The University of Texas at San Antonio conducted fieldwork associated with National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility testing of three archaeological sites located on Camp Swift, a facility operated by the Texas Military Department (TMD) in Bastrop County, Texas. Under the direction of the TMD, CAR carried out the work in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 as amended. The three sites, 41BP528, 41BP859, and 41BP865, are located in an area that is under study as a future drop zone for airborne training. The property is licensed to the TMD for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The creation of the drop zone requires an Environmental Assessment under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act to assist in determining whether this action will have significant impacts on “the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment (40 CFR 1508.14).” The testing was performed under Interagency Cooperation Agreement TMD17-2053-ENV, with Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux serving as Principal Investigator and Leonard Kemp serving as the Project Archaeologist. During these investigations, CAR excavated 11 1-x-1 m test units, three 1-x-0.5 m test units, and screened approximately 10.26 m3 of deposits. CAR identified one feature at 41BP859 and two features at 41BP865. These three thermal features were AMS radiocarbon dated to the Late Prehistoric period. CAR recovered three projectile points, 16 lithic tools/cores, 414 pieces of debitage and 18.8 kg of burned rock. Following the analyses and quantification of these collected artifacts, those possessing little scientific value were discarded pursuant to Chapter 26.27(g)(2) of the Antiquities Code of Texas and in consultation with both the TMD and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The only discarded artifact class was non-feature burned rock. It was documented, and counts were included in curation documentation. All remaining cultural materials, as well as records obtained and/or generated during the project, were prepared in accordance with federal regulation 36 CFR part 79 and THC requirements for State Held-in-Trust collections at CAR. CAR relied on three interrelated criteria to determine site eligibility: 1) the integrity of a site, 2) the chronological potential of a site, and 3) the site content. CAR recommends that 41BP528 should be considered not eligible for NRHP listing due to poor integrity, the lack of chronological potential, and minimal site content. CAR recommends the remaining two sites, 41BP859 and 41BP865, should be considered as eligible for listing on the NRHP. These two sites have site integrity, chronological potential, and site content that could potentially contribute to understanding the prehistory in the region. Consequently, impacts to sites 41BP859 and 41BP865 should be avoided. If avoidance is not possible, then CAR recommends that a plan for mitigation of adverse effects from proposed impacts be developed and implemented.

archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, archaeological surveying, excavations, Bastrop County