HUTCHINSON COUNTY -- For close to 50 years, Lake Meredith has provided the High Plains with water, and plenty of good times.
"You know lake meredith begins with an early memory for me," said Clay Renick, director of the Hutchinson County Historical Museum. "I spent many happy summers out there on the lake and it breaks my heart to see it how it is now."A crippling drought has left Lake Meredith near 25 feet, at an all time low. But while the lake lowers, some peculiar artifacts are coming to light.
"When the lake filled up, there were 450 to 500 known archeological sites that were covered," said Renick.
Sites from an ancient civilization who called the Panhandle home long ago.
"This was kinda like a super highway to the early people." said Alvin Lynn, Steward for the Texas Historical Commission. "Lots of people living along that river because it was sustenance for them."
Before there was Meredith, there was a creek...the "Antelope Creek", and those that lived off the creek were called the "Antelope Creek Focus."
Whether it be water, food, or trade, the focus was one of the largest cultures in early America, and the ol' creek gave them anything they would need.
"They would hunt antelope and deer," said Lynn. "All these little creeks had freshwater in them, really a good place to camp."
But then mysteriously the focus disappeared, leaving archeologist to wonder why.
"We do know that in the late 14-hundreds we had a tremendous drought in the Southwest, so one theory is the drought drove them out," said Lynn. "Another theory is the people in New Mexico they had been trading with, came here and rather than trading they just took what the people had...and killed them."
Whatever the reason, it's a culture lost in time. But more clues are beginning to surface from beneath the depths.
"The young archeologists are smarter than us old guys," said Renick. "So we may learn some more, we very may well indeed."
Renick and other experts hope these clues could lead to answers about our ancestors.