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24 October 2011
Prehistoric bones discovered at Spring Lake, USA

Construction at the former Aquarena Springs amusement park in Texas has unearthed human remains believed to have been buried at the headwaters of the San Marcos River long before the arrival of Spanish explorers. Scientists currently think people were visiting or even living near San Marcos Springs by at least 13,000 years ago.
     The remains found at Spring Lake are not the first discovered on the Texas State University campus. Two partial sets of human remains were found around twenty years ago during routine maintenance of fish ponds.
     Other discoveries in San Marcos include artefacts and food remains found in the 1970s and 80s during archaeological excavations in Spring Lake. The lake was created in 1849 when General Edward Burleson constructed a dam at the headwaters of the San Marcos Springs to operate a gristmill. Before the dam, the springs reportedly sent water a couple of metres into the air.
     Artefacts found at Spring Lake include flaked stone tools and chipping debris. Remains of mammoths, mastodons, and bison were also found. Additionally, Texas State archaeologist Jon C. Lohse - director of the university's Center for Archaeological Studies - says three individuals and elements of a fourth and perhaps fifth person were discovered during archaeological excavations of the 0.5 hectare Zatopec site in the Purgatory Creek Natural Area in late 2007 and early 2008.
     The Zatopec site, which contained evidence of occasional prehistoric occupation throughout the last 10,000 years, included remains of a habitation, stone ovens, a weapons manufacturing area and possible storage pits. More than 140,000 artefacts were removed between 1983 and 1986.

Edited from San Marcos Mercury (18 October 2011)

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