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TITLE 13CULTURAL RESOURCES
PART 2TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
CHAPTER 22CEMETERIES
RULE §22.4Unknown, Abandoned, and Unverified Cemeteries

(a) Discovery of Unknown or Abandoned Cemeteries. §711.010 of the Health and Safety Code requires that a person who discovers an unknown or abandoned cemetery shall file notice of the discovery of the cemetery with the county clerk of the county in which the cemetery is located and concurrently mail notice to the landowner on record in the county appraisal district not later than the 10th day after the date of the discovery. The notice must contain a legal description of the land on which the unknown or abandoned cemetery was found and describe the approximate location of the cemetery and the evidence of the cemetery that was discovered.

  (1) The Commission may provide assistance to any party required to file this notice.

  (2) The Notice of Existence of Cemetery form available on the Commission's website may be used to file this notice.

  (3) The county clerk must provide a copy of the notice to the Commission within 15 days after the filing of the notice with the clerk, by mailing it to the following address: Cemetery Preservation Coordinator, Texas Historical Commission, P.O. Box 12276, Austin, Texas 78711-2276.

(b) If one or more graves are discovered during construction of improvements on a property, construction must stop and may only proceed in a manner that would not further disturb the grave or graves unless the graves are removed in accordance with §711.0105 of the Health and Safety Code.

(c) Agricultural (including ranching), construction, utility lines, industrial, and mining operations may not be conducted in a manner that will disturb a grave or cemetery unless the graves and dedication of the cemetery are removed in accordance with §711.035 of the Health and Safety Code.

(d) Discovery of Unverified Cemeteries. §711.0111 of the Health and Safety Code of Texas requires that any person that discovers an unverified cemetery shall file a notice and evidence of the discovery with the commission on a form provided by the commission. §711.0111 also requires that any person that discovers an unverified cemetery shall concurrently provide a copy of the notice of the filing with the landowner on record in the county appraisal district on whose land the unverified cemetery is located. The commission shall evaluate the notice and the evidence submitted with the notice, and consider the response of the landowner, if any is received not later than the 30th day after notice, and shall determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the claim of the existence of a cemetery. If the commission determines that sufficient evidence supports the existence of a cemetery, the commission shall notify the landowner and may file notice of the existence of the cemetery under §711.011 of the Health and Safety Code. If a notice of existence has already been filed under §711.011 and the commission has determined that there is not sufficient evidence of a cemetery the commission shall notify the landowner of its determination, amend the notice to include the commission's determination, and file the amendment with the county clerk to correct the dedication.

  (1) The Commission may provide assistance to a person required to file this notice.

  (2) The Notice of Unverified Cemetery form, which is available on the Commission's website, shall be used to file this notice.

  (3) The Texas Historical Commission, with consent of the landowner, may investigate a suspected but unverified cemetery or may delegate the investigation to a qualified person described by §711.0105(a).

(e) The commission shall use one or more of the following criteria when assessing the verification of the existence of a cemetery:

  (1) the location contains interment(s) that is/are confirmed through assessments or investigations consented by the landowner and performed by a professional archeologist or other individuals as defined by §711.0105(a) of the Health and Safety Code of Texas;

  (2) the location contains human burial caskets or other containers or vessels that contain human remains or are contextually known to have been used to inter human remains;

  (3) the location contains articulated human remains that were deliberately interred; or

  (4) the location contains a burial pit or burial pit features.

(f) The commission shall use one or more of the following criteria when assessing the verification of the existence of a cemetery:

  (1) the location contains interments that are confirmed through assessments or investigations performed by a professional archeologist or other individuals as defined by §711.0105(a) of the Health and Safety Code of Texas

  (2) the location contains human burial caskets or other containers or vessels that contain human remains or are contextually known to have been used to inter human remains;

  (3) the location contains articulated human remains that were deliberately interred

  (4) the location contains a burial pit or burial pit features


Source Note: The provisions of this §22.4 adopted to be effective May 20, 2010, 35 TexReg 3809; amended to be effective January 2, 2018, 42 TexReg 7685

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