Lubbock Lake Landmark celebrates half a century of continous research

Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 11:07 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Researchers at the Lubbock Lake Landmark are celebrating 50 years of digging up history.

Archaeologists have unearthed extinct animals and evidence of human habitation dating back as many as three million years. Dr. Eileen Johnson, the director of Lubbock Lake Landmark, spoke to KCBD about why the 300-plus acre preserve is so significant for our region.

Although Lubbock County was founded in 1876, humans have lived here for much longer. The Lubbock Lake Landmark is located in the Yellowhouse Draw. It used to be a spring thousands of years ago, where ancient animals and human tribes settled.

“The Landmark when we look at the cultural record is one of the largest known hunter and gather sites in the entire new world we are over three hundred acres in extent,” Johnson stated.

Johnson has been excavating that land for the last fifty years. Since her first dig in 1973, she and her team of researchers have discovered hundreds of ancient artifacts.

“Some that people are very familiar with are the mammoth, the ancient bison, we also have camel, horses, bears,” said Johnson.

Nearly five years ago, Johnson stated they came across their rarest find yet: an American Lion.

“There are two localities in North America where there are a fair number of the remains of the American lion. The lion that we discovered is a male and so the males could get up to 1,000 pounds so there they were strolling around the landscape of Lubbock 12,000 years ago,” Johnson said.

This week marks half a century of discoveries and research for Johnson and the Lubbock Lake Landmark team. This is quite an accomplishment that Johnson is confident will continue for years to come.

“We estimate that we have looked at no more than five percent of the record. Think about that. The riches here are such that again in my lifetime after even spending 50 years we are nowhere near exhausting the records that are here,” said Johnson.

The Lubbock Lake Landmark will be holding events all week in celebration of 50 years of research. For more information please click here.