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(This is a sample web page created by WebsiteDesigningAmarillo.com to illustrate possible design layouts. TPHS is fictional, but the information is factual.)
Cliff Markings of 17th and 18th Century Europeans
This month we visited the cliffs in Valle de Oro. Not well known, Valle de Oro is located about twenty-five miles northwest of Amarillo, and approximately ten miles southeast of Boys Ranch. The region is sparsely populated and has the too well known small-town business district; that of a single building that serves as a post office, grocery store, and gasoline stop.
The valley's rough terrain still shows evidence of when it was mined for its gravel. Fortunately, several areas of the region remain relatively undamaged and are useful for archeological research. The cliffs featured this month have been visited by Europeans for hundreds of years, and the visitors' graffiti is evidence that 17th century Europeans had frequented the region.
Photo #1 shows the entrance to a naturally-occurring opening in the sandstone. During spring and into autumn, the opening is not easily visible due to the brush and small trees. We visited the cliffs in late February as the trees were just beginning to produce buds.
Photo #2 was taken from within the cliff-opening. It would be possible to build a small campfire within the opening's walls without anyone seeing the light from a distance. We speculated that the cliff-opening might have been used by outlaws on occasion since the spot is so well hidden from view.
Photo #3 shows an 1888 date and the name of "Dock." There are dozens of names and dates carved into the nearby cliffs, but erosion has rendered some names difficult to read.
Photo #4 clearly shows an 1887 date, but we were uncertain of the nearby name until after we performed an analysis of the photographs and soil. The findings are on page two.
Photo #5 is a view from one of the northwest corners of the cliffs. During rainy seasons, the view can be breathtaking. It is difficult for us living today to imagine what the land may have looked like two hundred years ago, but historical records state that the region's last bear was killed in 1909.1 The Comanche ruins approximately forty miles east show evidence of an abundance of fish, deer, antelope, bear, and bison. The settling of Old Tascosa and Amarillo brought an end to the trees, fish, and the river itself. Compared to what the region may have looked like in the 17th century, the region is now desolate and thoroughly destroyed.
On page two we show how the photographs were analyzed to highlight the cliff carvings. The soil analysis was also of great interest to geologists due to its rather unique sedimentary layering. On page three is a remarkable discovery of 17th century Spaniards having traveled through the valley. It is exciting to find so much history in our own backyard.