The Nightengale Archaeological Center is no longer operated by the Llano Uplift Archaeological Society. The Lower Colorado River Authority, which owns the land and the facilities, plans to make improvements to the property and reopen it to the public for scheduled field trips and summer camps. Courtesy photo
LCRA plans to make repairs to the property before reopening to the public. Visitors will be welcome during prescheduled programs or summer camp, which is how public access was handled in the past, said LCRA spokesperson Clara Tuma in an email to DailyTrib.com.
The LCRA and the society first signed an agreement in 1991 that expired the next year.
“Since then, the LUAS has stored items and used the facility off and on without a formal agreement in place,” Tuma continued in the email. “In 2021, LCRA asked LUAS to secure a land use permit to formalize an agreement that would allow the group to continue use of the property. LUAS members have informed LCRA they do not want to pursue a land use permit.”
The permit would cost $150 annually and require proof of insurance in the event of damage during use of the property.
“It was a lot of work for us,” LUAS Archaeological Project Director Chuck Hixon told DailyTrib.com when the story first broke. “We had been having to cut back over the years. We had to give tours, check on the place from time to time, and maintain the hiking trails, but we’re fine. That’s the way it goes.”
The center is located at 201 Circle Drive on the shores of Lake LBJ, just before RR 1431 climbs up Lookout Mountain and descends into Kingsland. It was discovered as an archaeological site when neighbors in the Twin Oaks subdivision reported looters. Both professional and amateur archaeologists excavated the site and have catalogued more than 100,000 artifacts over the years. Most are archived and are being studied at the University of Texas at Austin.
According to reports, the area was occupied up to 6,500 years ago and maybe up to 10,000 years ago.