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Exploring Spring Lake: the Archaeology and Culture of One of America's Oldest Communities

Welcome to Exploring Spring Lake

photo of modern day spring lake


After thousands of years of migration, human populations have spread out over practically the entire globe. Some places have proven to be inhospitable or to have only limited resources, and in those locations we often find only scanty evidence of the people who once visited there. In some places, a once hospitable climate may have changed, becoming less kind to humans. Some places, however, have such a unique combination of location, ecology and other features that they become what is known as a persistent place one to which humans are drawn over and over again despite differences in culture, technology and lifeways. Spring Lake and the San Marcos Springs that produce its headwaters is one such place. Because of a very special combination of geology and ecology, people have returned to this site over and over again, from the earliest known inhabitants of the American continents through the present.

Click on the images below to join us as we explore what it is that makes the San Marcos springs so special. Or, take this shortcut to learn about our 2014 Spring Lake Data Recovery Project.

Words and phrases in blue are listed in our Glossary of Terms. 

Like the springs, this website will be constantly evolving, so check back to see our latest entries!

   Where is Spring Lake? 

          Click on a map to get oriented