Cultural Resources

Under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, 327.14- Destruction, injury, defacement, removal or any alteration of public property including, but not limited to, developed facilities, natural formations, mineral deposits, historical and archaeological features, paleontological resources, boundary monuments or markers, and vegetative growth, is prohibited except when in accordance with written permission from the district engineer.

Archeological and Cultural Resource Protection

Native Americans inhabiting the Benbrook Lake locale during prehistoric and historic times apparently did not establish permanent residence in the lake area, but did cross through to follow the thunderous herds of bison as they migrated across the region. In later Texas history the lake area was home to several ranching families. Several homes and cemeteries were relocated as a result of lake construction, however, there were no significant archeological or cultural sites noted during construction at Benbrook Lake.

Archeological knowledge is often based upon an artifact’s location relative to other items at a site. Although it is temping to pick up an arrowhead or pottery fragment, such action destroys the knowledge that could be obtained from it. Several federal laws and regulations protect all Federal sites. To prevent the destruction of valuable information, please leave any artifact found where you see it. If you see anyone picking up such items or digging in a site, please report this to the Benbrook Lake Project Office. Remember: Artifacts are part of the heritage that belongs to all Texans, and it is up to each of us to help preserve this heritage. Metal detecting around the lake shoreline is allowed with a permit from the Lake Office.

Fossil Hunting

Benbrook Lake is a noted fossil-hunting location. Much of the rock that underlies Tarrant County consists primarily of seventy to eighty-five million year old sedimentary rock strata from the Late Cretaceous Period. These Goodland Formation limestones are roughly contemporary with the last dinosaurs on land, during the Mesozoic Era.

Accessible in the Benbrook Spillway cut and many other exposed areas, these rocks are the remains of a shallow ocean that covered this part of the continent and receded over the last seventy million years to the present Gulf Coast shoreline in South Texas. It represents a shallow marine habitat, under about thirty feet of depth, which was populated by oyster reefs, corals, clams, sea urchins, and ammonites. It is very similar to what you might find off the Texas coast today at similar depth, except for the ammonites. Ammonites are an extinct group of shelled mollusks, related to the nautilus, squid and octopus. Most of the fossils you find have living descendants today, some in almost exactly the same form, like oyster shells.


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