We can survive for weeks without food but roughly three to four days without water.
Human civilizations all over the world sprang up around water while oceans kept many of those civilizations apart. Virtually all of the world’s cities can be traced through the centuries to the banks of a river or shoreline, including the City of New Braunfels. Human technology advanced by developing ways to store and transport water and harness it to cut lumber, drive locomotives, and even electrify our communities. In this modern day, many of our most popular vacations involve relaxing and revitalizing near water such as a trip to the beach or canoeing along a river or maybe zipping down (or is it up?) the Master Blaster at Schlitterbahn. When times aren’t as calm and the weather takes a turn for the worse, it’s often floods and waves and rain that deal the greatest damage to property and lives, leaving changed communities in their wake. In a way, you can think of water as a lead character in the story of humanity whose latest chapters we are writing today.
The central mission for Headwaters at the Comal is to highlight this relationship between all of us and the natural environment – and water in particular – that surrounds us. Buried below this facility, archaeologists have found extensive evidence of past generations living in this same place, still grounded in this timeless connection of water, nature, and humanity. From October 2018 to April 2019 archaeologists conducted excavations at Headwaters at the Comal to explore and learn from this site. During these excavations, archaeologists were able to peer back through the centuries and millennia to time, when residents of what would eventually become New Braunfels – thousands of years before the first blocks of the Great Pyramids were being laid – peered down into those same Comal Springs that flow today and saw their own reflections set against a world that is very different than what we see today. They had their own thoughts and fears; spoke in their own language; and probably told their own jokes, in a manner that would be pretty alien to us now. Nonetheless, there is little doubt that, like many of you, they loved this very same place that they called home.
Throughout the excavation, visitors were invited to watch while archaeologists worked. A series of YouTube Live Updates, which can be found here, was created to share the story with those unable to visit in person. And if you plan to visit in the future, be confident that there will be so much more to come as the site progresses. This is a truly special site that New Braunfelsers, Texans, and everyone else can feel very proud of.