East Texas drought conditions could uncover hidden treasures

As lakes and creeks in the oldest part of Texas become more shallow, an interesting, but problematic discovery is made. Historic Items are being unearthed and this presents a concern for archaeologists and historians.

"One of the things that happens when water rises and falls, is that archaeological sites that might be about 4 feet under the ground come up," Dr. Leslie Cecil, SFA Professor-Archaeologist.

If someone is at the lake and spots an arrow head, piece of Caddo Indian pottery or something else really old, archaeologists say they shouldn't mess with it.

"Look at it, observe it, but leave it," says Cecil.

That's the reminder historians and archeologists are giving as more and more state archaeological landmarks are exposed due to low water levels.

"All of those artifacts there are protected by law and there are penalties for taking artifacts off of federal lands and taking them home," says Cecil.

There are no laws on private property unless its designated protected by government authorities. This helps protect landowners from looters. Right now, like all of East Texas, archaeologists want the drought to end.

"And you don't have these cases of people coming out and picking up a piece of pottery because it looks cool or an arrowhead because it looks cool," says Cecil.

Any significant finds can be reported to authorities or SFA's social and cultural analysis department. The discovery may be the missing piece to pre-history time.

The Texas Historical Commission, as well as some indian grave protection watchdog groups monitor the protection of archaeological landmarks.