Some of the richest archaeological sites in North America surround Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, Texas along the edge of the Balcones Escarpment. Early Paleoindian through Late Prehistoric occupations were documented by underwater excavations performed by Dr. Joel Shiner and Paul Takac of Southern Methodist University, and also by "dry" excavations performed by Texas State University-San Marcos field schools under the direction of Dr. James Garber and M. Katherine Brown. Geological cores, studied by Prewitt and Associates of Austin, Texas, demonstrate the existence of late Pleistocene and Holocene deposits extending to depths of 9.2 m and prehistoric occupations to depths of at least six meters. A historical study of the area by the Public History Program, under the direction of Dr. Cindy Brandimarte at Texas State University-San Marcos, revealed the rich 18th and 19th century history of the springs.
In a collaborative project, Texas State University-San Marcos and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are establishing an education center, the Texas Rivers Center, that focuses on the ecology, hydrology, archaeology, and history of the springs and the San Marcos River. Preceding construction, archaeological investigations will excavate in areas that will be impacted by developmental activities. This study will provide a wealth of new information on the unique prehistoric and historic record at Aquarena Springs.