Heritage, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 1993 Page: 11
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Wheat and made up of several displaced
farmers from the community, began the
first formal dig at the site. Wheat and
Holden were honored at the opening of
the park in October 1990 as key players in
the world's recognition of the archaeological
significance of Lubbock Lake.
Throughout the next five decades,
community volunteers were critical to the
continuation of work at the site. Even
more importantly, citizens of Lubbock came
to understand the benefit of Texas Tech's
work at the site and became powerful lobbyists
and staunch supporters of the push
to preserve the site.
The interpretive center at the Lubbock
Lake State Historical Park bears the name
of Robert A. "Bob" Nash, a former city
council member who made the site's preservation
by state and national historical
organizations his almost obsessive cause.
Nash still volunteers at the site.
In the last two summers, an area veterinarian,
a banker, and an artist have been
teamed with homemakers, retirees, and
students as part of the volunteer crew involved
in a major project to unearth a large
bone pavement that was once a major
bison butchering site some 500 years ago.
That work will continue for at least the
next 10 years, according to Johnson. Volunteers
also work in the research laboratory
at the landmark as well as serve as
docents in the children's learning center
and conduct the daily tours of the site for
"Because the world-renowned research
at Lubbock Lake has always been fueled by
the enthusiasm of community members
and volunteers, we have a support system
unequaled in the field today," Johnson
A large part of that support system is the
Lubbock Lake Landmark Foundation,
chaired by Texas Senator John Montford
(D-Lubbock), a long-time Lubbock Lake
enthusiast. Nash serves as a board member
on the foundation.
"I personally believe that this is a worldclass
facility for scholarly research as well
as the focal point for 12,000 years of our
culture. The potential for bringing both
tourists and scholars to the park is tremendous,"
To help the landmark realize that potential,
Montford and the foundation have
raised $300,000 in the last two years to
build a series of life-size bronze statues at
the park representing the ancient beasts
that once roamed the area. The first of the
statues, a giant short-faced bear, will be
unveiled by the end of this summer.
The annual summer research program at
the park - which brings more than 20
undergraduate and graduate students from
around the world to the site to work with
Johnson, her staff, and a group of gifted
high school students - was funded by the
Museum and contributions from the local
West Texas Museum Association and three
One of Johnson's dreams is that a 40- to
50-person dormitory and dining facility
can be constructed within the park so that
students, scholars, and volunteers can work
there year-round. Her dream is shared by
Montford, who spearheaded the drive to
make the site a state park. The Lubbock
Lake Landmark Foundation will make the
housing facility its first priority after the
bronze statue project is completed.
Montford believes the housing facility can
be built within three to four years.
Students and volunteers who spend
their summers at the park work in three
different areas of archaeological research.
All staff at the site spend several hours
each day in the slow process of digging at
the current excavation site. Working in
one-meter square blocks, they dig with
small trowels, dusting away the sediment
from a possible find with a toothbrush. All
dirt and sediment removed from each
one-meter square at the site is carefully
saved in its own bag.
Students who do not spend all day at the
site work in the laboratory sorting the contents
of the bags. This "matrix processing"
is perhaps the major innovation pioneered
byJohnson and the landmark research team.
The contents of each matrix bag are washed
carefully through fine mesh screens so that
after the dirt is removed, the staff can study
what is left. These treasure bags offer up
tiny cultural materials, such as bits of pottery,
tools, beads, and biological materials,
such as pieces of bone from lizards, mice,
birds, fish, insects, and fossil seeds. Data
and specimens collected from the matrix
processing form the major data base for the
interpretation of changing environments
and climates through time.
The third area of research at the landmark
is analysis of the matrix material and
materials recovered in place during the
excavations. Graduate students computerize
the bags' contents and look for evidence
of theories currently under consideration
from the dig.
As a day-long exploration site for the
amateur archaeologist, or as a long-term
research interest for some of the world's top
archaeological scholars, the Lubbock Lake
Landmark stands as a remarkable Texas
treasure. Certainly it can claim to be the
oldest community in Texas, if not in the
United States or in all the New World.
Margaret Simon, Ph.D., is the director of
News and Publications at Texas Tech University
Photographer Artie Limmer is employed by the
TTU Office of News and Publications.
HERITAGE * SPRING 1993 11
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 1993, periodical, Spring 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46808/m1/11/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.