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Archaeologists work to excavate a site at the Lubbock Lake Landmark. The landmark is located at 2202 Landmark Lane, just north of Loop 289 off the Clovis Highway.

Lubbock Lake Landmark is treasure trove of archaeology

BY BOBBY WILSON
Avalanche-Journal

In 1936, Clark and Turner Kimmel found a Folsom point and bison bones in a pile of sediment.

The teenage cousins were watching workers dredge springs in Northwest Lubbock to get water flowing. They discovered the materials in a load of dirt workers had dumped near them.

The boys took their find to the West Texas Museum, now called the Museum of Texas Tech.

Curry Holden, the director of the museum, knew right away that he was looking at an incredible archaeological find.

It turns out that the site, now called Lubbock Lake Landmark, contains scientific evidence of human occupation going back 12,000 years.

Sophie Butler from England scrapes the top layer of soil from a bone she discovered at an excavation site at the Lubbock Lake Landmark.

In 1939, Holden organized the first explorations of the site, said Eileen Johnson, current director of the landmark.
Shortly after, the landmark became known nationally as a significant archaeological site.

In the 1970s, the site became known internationally and began attracting researchers from different parts of the world.

The national and international research community has recognized the strong local support for the landmark and its extensive record, Johnson said.

“To think, we have 12,000 years of people who traveled through this spot,” said Deborah Bigness, manager of site operations for the landmark. “There are few places that have scientific evidence of human occupation in all of the cultural periods.”

Johnson
Johnson

The landmark’s various hydrological stages have attracted people and animals throughout its history, said Eileen Johnson, director of the landmark.

The landmark covers more than 300 acres and is at North Indiana Avenue and the juncture of Clovis Highway and Loop 289.

Some 15,000 local and international visitors check out the landmark each year, Johnson said.

Every summer, field crews excavate at the landmark to explore different time periods. It was officially declared a landmark by the federal government in 1977.

The landmark has detailed stratas for at least 15,000 years or more, representing different packets of sediments and soils through time, Johnson said.

The landmark also has one of the most complete records of people in the New World, and it is also one of the largest hunter and gatherer sites in the New World.

The landmark is owned by Texas Tech and governed by the museum.

“The main aspect is we will continue to preserve and interpret the landmark’s record for the public,” Johnson said.

To comment on this story:
bobby.wilson@lubbockonline.com 766-8745
shelly.gonzales@lubbockonline.com 766-8747

Previous A-J Remembers:

 

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