City to pay for archaeological study; construction expected to move forward
About 2,000 years ago, a small group of hunter-gatherers settled near
Soon, the last traces of this early
The site lies near the path of the Wonder World Drive extension, a three-mile road and bridge linking Hunter Road to RM 12 on the west side of town.
The $70.6 million project, which will create a direct link between RM 12 in western
City engineers have known of the ancient site for several years, but now they're giving archaeologists one last chance to excavate and extract what they can before the remnants of the 2,000-year-old community are largely destroyed by road construction.
"You gather as much information as you can, because once the construction starts, things get torn up pretty quickly," said Britt Bousman, director of
Tuesday night, the San Marcos City Council unanimously approved spending $416,000 to pay for Bousman and university staff to study the 1 1/4-acre site.
City officials are required by state and federal law to conduct the study to preserve knowledge of significant archaeological sites. Officials will make their findings available online.
Road construction is scheduled to begin in 2008.
It's not unusual to find stone tools, bones and other evidence of settlements from the same period as the Wonder World site in
But limited excavations by
"If it's confirmed, then it would be unique for
Road builders can shift the bridge pilings to where they will do the least damage to the archaeological site, said Texas Department of Transportation engineer Don Nyland. But because the archaeological site sits near where the road extension connects with existing roads at an intersection, engineers had little choice in the road's path, Nyland said.
"It's not like they could have gone around it," he said.