DRAFT. Environmental & Cultural Resources Surveys forcerro Balcón. Non-Time-Critical Removal Action. at the Municipality of Culebra, Puerto Rico - PDF

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Contract No. W912DY-05-D-0007 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Huntsville Environmental & Cultural Resources Surveys forcerro Balcón Ellis Environmental Group, LC Non-Time-Critical Removal Action Municipality

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Contract No. W912DY-05-D-0007 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Huntsville Environmental & Cultural Resources Surveys forcerro Balcón Ellis Environmental Group, LC Non-Time-Critical Removal Action Municipality of Culebra Island, Puerto Rico DRAFT Environmental and Cultural Resources Surveys for Cerro Balcón Non-Time-Critical Removal Action at the Municipality of Culebra, Puerto Rico Prepared for United States Army District, Jacksonville United States Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Contract Number: W912DY-05-D-0007 Task Order: Number: 0001 Project Number: I02PR Date: September 28, 2006 August, Contract No. W912DY-05-D-0007 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Huntsville Environmental & Cultural Resources Surveys forcerro Balcón Ellis Environmental Group, LC Non-Time-Critical Removal Action Municipality of Culebra Island, Puerto Rico 1.0 INTRODUCTION In accordance with requests by the regulators involved with the Technical Planning Process and the approved Work Plan, Ellis Environmental Group LC (EEG) is required to provide a cultural resources and environmental survey of each cay that will be investigated under this contract. The purpose of the surveys is to identify cultural resources, sensitive habitats, and endangered plants and animals that may exist in the work areas. EEG employed South East Archeological Research (SEARCH) to perform the cultural resources survey at Cerro Balcón. EEG conducted the habitat and endangered species surveys. The results of the cultural resources survey is included in Appendix A. The habitat and endangered species survey is included in Appendix B. 2.0 RESULTS OF SURVEYS 2.1 Cultural Resources Survey Based on the data in the survey report (Appendix A), there were no significant cultural resources found at Cerro Balcón that would limit the surface removal of Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) from this site. As SEARCH personnel observed, there should be no limitation to EEG operations based on cultural resource issues. The SEARCH expert provided a cultural resources briefing to EEG personnel during the initial project mobilization. All team members will be on the lookout for any items of potential cultural significance. If items are found, EEG will map each location with the GPS and send the coordinates and pictures to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District (CESAJ) project manager to be forwarded to the Cultural Resources Specialist. 2.2 Environmental Resources Survey EEG discussed the vegetation removal with the CESAJ and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources (DNER) prior to conducting the removal action. All native trees with diameters greater than 1 inch are to be protected at Cerro Balcón.. All non-native species may be removed. August, Contract No. W912DY-05-D-0007 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Huntsville Environmental & Cultural Resources Surveys forcerro Balcón Ellis Environmental Group, LC Non-Time-Critical Removal Action Municipality of Culebra Island, Puerto Rico APPENDIX A CULTURAL RESOURCES SURVEY August, Archaeological Walkover Survey Associated with Unexploded Ordnance Removal, Cerro Balcón, Isla de Culebra, Puerto Rico Prepared for Ellis Environmental Group, LT Newberry, Florida Prepared by SOUTHEASTERN ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH, INC. 715 West Harvard Street 315 NW 138 th Terrace P.O. Box 2818 Orlando, FL Jonesville, FL Riverview, FL Archaeological Walkover Survey Associated with Unexploded Ordnance Removal, Cerro Balcón, Isla de Culebra, Puerto Rico Prepared for Ellis Environmental Group, LT Newberry, Florida Prepared by William F. Keegan, Ph.D., RPA Principal Investigator with contributions by Lisabeth Carlson and Hugh Tosteson SOUTHEASTERN ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH, INC. 715 West Harvard Street 315 NW 138 th Terrace P.O. Box 2818 Orlando, FL Jonesville, FL Riverview, FL Search Project No TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Figures ii List of Tables ii Management Summary iii Introduction 1 Project Area 3 Previous Sites and Surveys 4 Prehistoric Context 6 History of Culebra 9 Settlement 13 The Navy in Culebra: Transfer of San Ildefonso 17 Culebra in the 20 th Century 19 Methodology 24 Results 24 Cerro Balcón South Site 25 Historical Component 27 Conclusions and Recommendations 27 References Cited 29 Appendix A: Completed PRSHPO Site File Form i Table of Contents LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Areas Surveyed for UXO Removal, Cerro Balcón, Isla de Culebra Figure 2. View from Proposed Magazine Location toward Cerro Balcón Figure 3. Archaeological Sites Recorded in Vicinity of Cerro Balcón Figure 4. Puerto Rico (San Juan) and Culebra (Prasaje), 1545 Figure 5. Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, 1718 Figure 6. Detail of Culebra (from 1718 map) Figure 7. Culebra, ca Figure 8. Lot Plan for San Ildefonso Town, 1881, detail Figure 9. Culebra, , Reflecting Lots Figure 10. Ownership of Culebra Lands, 1905 Figure 11. Navy Lands on Culebra, ca Figure 12. View toward Cerro Balcón and Cerro Balcón South Site LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Recorded Archaeological Sites in Vicinity of Cerro Balcón Table 2. Chronology of Ceramic Styles for Puerto Rico 4 8 ii List of Figures INTRODUCTION In April 2006, Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) of Jonesville, Florida was engaged by Ellis Environmental Group, LC, to conduct an archaeological impact assessment of the project area for the Culebra Non-Time-Critical Removal of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) at Cerro Balcón. Dr. William F. Keegan, Curator of Caribbean Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville was sub-contracted as the Principal Investigator. Dr. Keegan conducted his investigations between April 19 and 24, He returned to Culebra on May 16-18, 2006 to conduct a training exercise for the individuals involved in clearing the site of UXO. He also participated in a public meeting on the evening of May 17 th. The project area encompasses 32 acres of a former U.S. military mortar range, from which UXO and associated debris will be removed from the surface. The project area has three subareas: the main impact area (as defined by a collection grid), a proposed magazine at which explosives will be stored, and an unimproved road to be constructed between the magazine and the main impact area. All three areas were surveyed for cultural resources. Due to the presence of UXO on the property, Dr. Keegan s investigations were limited to a walkover survey and no subsurface testing could be undertaken. An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialist, equipped with a magnetometer, preceded Dr. Keegan at all times during the surface survey. Figure 1 is a general map of Culebra, showing the area surveyed. The purpose of the survey was to determine if any archaeological sites are located within the Cerro Balcón region of Culebra. Determining National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility of any identified historic property is not possible without subsurface testing. This project involved a review of previous investigations, background research on the region, a pedestrian field survey to locate potential sites, and coordination with the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office (PRSHPO). Research was conducted at the PRSHPO and the Puerto Rico Terrestrial Archaeology Council Division of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (IPRC), the Ripley Bullen Caribbean Research Library at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and the SEARCH Corporate library. Hugh Tosteson, B.A. conducted historic research in Puerto Rico and authored the History of Culebra section of this report. The Principal Investigator for this project is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) and meets the Secretary of the Interior s Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation (36 CFR Part 61). The project was conducted to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (PL ) as amended and its implementing regulation 36 CFR Part 800 (Protection of Historic Properties), the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act of 1979 (PL 9291) as amended, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth State Preservation Laws and Regulations. Source: Culebra and Adj acent Islands, USGS 7.5 minute TotJographic Map. -- Legend 0 Project Area figure l. Areas Surveyed for UXO Removal, Cerro Balcon, Isla de Culebra, Puerto Rico. PROJECT AREA The project area is located on the western side of Cerro Balcón, one the highest elevations on Culebra Island, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Figure 2). It is in an interior setting located 2 km from Bahía de Oleaje, 1.2 km from Playa Larga on the north coast, and 2 km from both Puerto del Manglar and Ensenada Honda to the southeast and south. Figure 2. View from proposed magazine location toward Cerro Balcón (facing northeast). The project area can be described as a small valley surrounded by high hills. The valley slopes, first steeply and then gently to the west. It appears that the valley acts like a water catchment, with rainwater directed down slope into the bottom of the valley. Indeed, at the bottom of the valley, just outside the project boundary, there is a farm pond used today to water cattle. Based on the characteristics of the pond margin that could be observed, it appears to be a natural pond that likely existed during prehistoric times. In addition, there is evidence for sheet erosion on the western side of the project area, and several large gulleys indicate that a substantial amount of water flows periodically through this area. The area appears to have been cleared in the past, and there is evidence for its use as a pasture. The vegetation today is dominated by dense stands of guinea grass and acacia thornbush. In the northwestern part of the project area the guinea grass is replaced by deciduous, dry tropical scrub woodland. Tree heights rarely exceed three meters. Surface visibility varied by vegetation type. In areas of guinea grass there was almost zero visibility, but under the acacias and woodland areas the surface visibility was good. Soils within the project area are Descalabrado clay loam (20-40% slopes, eroded) (USDA 1977). This soil type is well drained and moderately permeable, but usually shallow overlying volcanic bedrock. It occurs on mountain side slopes and ridgetops in semiarid volcanic uplands in areas susceptible to erosion. Low rainfall usually accompanies this soil type and rapid runoff of that rainfall is common. 3 Project Area PREVIOUS SITES AND SURVEYS The majority of archaeological studies on Culebra have been compliance based. The earliest archaeological investigation of Culebra was conducted by Juan José Ortíz Aguilú in The report (Ortíz Aguilú 1979) is on file at the PRSHPO. Between 1978 and 1980, Juan González Colón ( ) prepared an inventory of Puerto Rican archaeological sites for the ICRP and included the sites reported by Ortíz Aguilú. Additional research was conducted by R. A. Thomas (1985) of MAAR Associates, Inc., Herminio Rodríguez (1992), and by Juan Rivera and Norma Medina (1996). Miguel Rodríguez prepared a summary of these investigations in July 1997 as part of a Facilities Plan for the Municipality of Culebra. Rodríguez compiled a total of 15 pre-columbian sites, two petroglyphs, and two historic sites from these surveys. Only one major excavation has been conducted on Culebra, completed at the Lower Camp site by José Oliver (1992, 1995) and Garrow and Associates for the National Park Service. There are four archaeological sites in the vicinity of Cerro Balcón on the north side of the island and three sites on the nearby south coast (Rodríguez 1997) (Table 1). These seven sites are depicted on Figure 3; none are located within the current project area. The Playa Tórtolo site (CU300013) and the Cerro Tortolo site (CU300014) are both possible village sites and may have been associated. Cerro Tórtola, the inland site, is located on a high mesa between the hills of Vigía and Tórtolo and is directly south of Playa Tórtola. Both sites are Ostionoid in their cultural classification with the pottery styles of Monserrate, Santa Elena, and Esperanza recorded for Playa Tórtola. The two other sites on the northern side of Cerro Balcón do not have site numbers or associated site forms. The Casa Rosa site is located south of Playa Larga and Laguna Zoní. It consists of a shell deposit of Strombus gigas and Cittarium pica and the remains of a 20 th century house (glass, ceramics, and metal). The site closest to the project area is Cerro Balcón I. It is a Table 1. Recorded Archaeological Sites in Vicinity of Cerro Balcón (from Rodríguez 1997) CAT Site Site Name Form # Location Period site type Ostionoid Playa CU beach west of Playa Larga (Monserrate, Santa village? Tórtola Elena & Esperanza) Cerro Tórtolo CU Casa Rosa no site form plateau between El Vigía & Tórtolo hills (south of Playa Tórtola) south of Playa Larga/Laguna Zoní Cerro Balcón I no site form between Cerro Balcón and Cerro Vigía Lower north side of Ensenada CU Camp Honda bay Bahia Mosquito CU Mid shoreline of Bahia Mosquito bay Ostionoid prehistoric/historic Santa Elena Cuevas Prehistoric Cuevas, Monserrate, Punta Carenero CU South of Punta Carenero Santa Elena, & Esperanza village? (associated w/ CU ?) shell concentration & historic house remains small, dense site w/ shell, fish bones & ceramics village Shell concentration w/ undiagnostic ceramics Village 4 Previous Sites and Surveys Leg~nd e Newly Kecorded :iite 0 Previously Recorded Sites D Project Area Figure 3. Archaeological Sites Recorded in the Vicinity of Cerro Balcon, Culebra, Puerto Rico. small but dense inland site located between the hills of Balcón and Vigía. The pottery is Santa Elena style, and there are well-preserved deposits of marine shells and fish bones. The final three sites are each coastal settlements on the southeast shore of the island. These sites indicate that the area surrounding the project area was extensively used during pre-columbian times, at least during the Post-Saladoid. Of special interest is the Cerro Balcón I site, which is located just north of the project area over an intervening hill, and in an interior setting. It should be noted that the definition of interior is relative, and often difficult to justify especially on small and narrow islands. However, sites located away from the coast suggest that they were specifically placed to exploit inland resources. Given the fact that these islands have a depauperate terrestrial fauna, it is likely that other resources such as trees for canoes, freshwater sources, or agricultural land were the motivations for settlements in these locations. PREHISTORIC CONTEXT The culture history of Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean is based largely on the taxonomic system of Irving Rouse (1992). Substantial revisions to Rouse s framework recently have been proposed (Keegan 2006; Rodríguez Ramos 2005). The current situation in Caribbean archaeology is best described as confusing. Some authors hold steadfast to Rouse s framework, while others are actively seeking an alternative depiction of what happened in the past. The following endeavors to navigate these troubled waters. The first inhabitants of Puerto Rico arrived around 4000 B.C. (see Keegan 1994 for overview). It is proposed that they arrived on the island from the west after crossing the Yucatan Passage from Belize (Wilson et al. 1998). These people are characterized by a flaked-stone technology, and it has been assumed that they lacked both agriculture and pottery. It has been suggested that they lived in small mobile bands with a huntergatherer economy (Rouse 1992). The truth is that there have been very few excavations of Lithic Age sites, and that we know very little about these earliest inhabitants of the Caribbean (Veloz Maggiolo 1991). Ground-stone tools first appear at sites throughout the Greater Antilles (except Jamaica) and the northern Lesser Antilles around 2500 B.C. The presence of ground-stone tools has been interpreted as reflecting the arrival of a new group of immigrants from northeastern South America (Rouse 1992). Called Archaic, these people are assumed to have had a hunter-gatherer economy and also lack a pottery technology (see Keegan 1994). It is further assumed that they either melded with, or replaced, the indigenous Lithic peoples (Rouse 1992). Richard Callaghan (2006) has challenged this interpretation. The main issue is that there are no Archaic sites in the southern Lesser Antilles so there is no evidence that people migrated through the islands to reach the Greater Antilles. Using evidence from seafaring simulations and the distribution of Archaic sites, Callaghan concluded that there is no evidence for an Archaic migration. Instead, the adoption of ground-stone tools seems to reflect the development of a new technology (or transfer of this technology from groups in Central America) in response to changing economic circumstances. Moreover, there is mounting evidence that Archaic 6 Prehistoric Context peoples practiced at least some form of plant management and cultivation (Newsom and Wing 2004), and that pottery, albeit in limited quantities, was used by these people prior to the arrival of the so-called Ceramic Age immigrants (Keegan 2006; Rodríguez Ramos 2005; cf. Rouse 1992). Beginning about 500 B.C. there was a new migration of peoples into the Caribbean islands. This time period has been designated the Ceramic Age because these people manufactured elaborately decorated ceramics and also practiced root-crop horticulture (Keegan 2000; Rouse 1992). It is worth remembering, however, that ceramics were already being made and used in the islands prior to the arrival of these peoples. It commonly is assumed that the Ceramic Age/Saladoid Period peoples migrated east along the Orinoco River valley until they reached northeastern Venezuela and the Guianas. From there they progressed in a stepping-stone pattern through the Lesser Antilles to Puerto Rico. However, current evidence indicates that most of the Lesser Antilles were by-passed during the initial migration into the islands because the earliest sites occur in Puerto Rico and the Northern Lesser Antilles (Keegan 2004). Although Rouse (1992) maintains that the Saladoid originated in eastern South America, an equally viable alternative is that they originated in western Venezuela or the Isthmo-Colombian area (Rodríguez Ramos 2005, Rodríguez Ramos and Pagán 2005). This issue currently is under scrutiny. The Ceramic Age culture history is based on changes in pottery styles over time. The terminology is complex and confusing (see Curet 2004; Rouse 1992), but is presented here in simplified form. The classification is based on a hierarchical system in which local styles are recognized, these are then grouped by similarities into subseries (denoted by the suffix an), and then further lumped into traditions or series reflected by the suffix oid. The oldest styles for Puerto Rico are named Haciende Grande and La Hueca. These date to the first centuries B.C., and their relationship has been the subject of much debate (Rodríguez Ramos 2005). The Hacienda Grande style appears to have transitioned into the Cuevas style around A.D All of these styles are classified as belonging to the Saladoid Series, named for the Saladero site on the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Between A.D. 600 and 800 there was a dramatic change in the ways that pottery was manufactured and decorated. Elaborate decorations and a highly formalized grammar (Roe 1989) disappear, and the pottery is characterized by simple hemispherical or hammock shaped vessels and simple decorations. It has been assumed that this new Ostionoid series reflects the devolution of Saladoid traditions (Rouse 1992); however, the more careful assessment of all of the evidence suggests that these new styles were strongly influence b
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