Close your eyes and step into the past. Can you hear the thud, thud, thud of heavy footfalls just off in the distance? The bubbling of spring water as it emerges from underground? The clashing of elephant trunks as two juveniles play in the muddy earth? Wait . . . those aren’t elephants. They are larger. They have gigantic tusks. They are hairier. These are mammoths — Columbian mammoths, to be exact — and they roam this beautiful land at the edge of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Now open your eyes and take it all in . . . the history of this special place.
Just up the road from Sterling Ranch lies Lamb Spring, where approximately 13,000 years ago herds of mammoth congregated to quench their thirst. Bison and camels walked over the varied terrain. Sloths hung from trees. From Ice Age to present day, the land on which Sterling Ranch is built and the surrounding area are bursting with this richness of life.
Lamb Springs’ rich history
At Lamb Springs Archaeological Preserve, “the past lies beneath your feet.” It was in the summer of 1960 that Charles Lamb, a Colorado rancher with property along the South Platte River, decided to build a stock pond. As he disturbed the soil, interesting items surfaced: a tusk and bone fragments of assorted mammals. Mr. Lamb reached out to the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, and a scientist by the name of Dr. Edward Lewis confirmed the rarity of these findings. Lamb’s Spring was a fossil bed of prehistoric creatures.
It would be several years before the extent of the animals that once roamed this area became clear. During excavations of the early 1960s and 1980s, scientists uncovered remains of several prehistoric species:
- Antilocaprid (pronghorn)
- And more!
Additionally, evidence of human activity of the late Pleistocene period comes in the form of flint chips, knives and other projectiles.
Today the land remains preserved as one of the Denver-Metro area’s greatest resources for education and research of natural and human history. In particular, it is a gem for Northwest Douglas County.
Immerse yourself in the past
Sterling Ranch residents benefit from a years-long partnership with nearby Lamb Spring Archaeological Preserve. From time to time, they enjoy private tours of the grounds and learn from enthusiastic guides about the incredible creatures that once roamed today’s prairies. For children and adults alike, it is a fun, educational outing well worth your time and is a great way to spend time with family.
Sterling Ranch: honoring the past while building for the future
Belowground, the Littleton, Colorado, area is a treasure trove of historical relics. Dinosaur bones, mammoth skulls, camel and bison remains . . . they have all been found here. Just as animals of prehistoric times called this unique place home, today’s residents of Sterling Ranch proudly do the same. Visit us today to discover our unique community and explore the rich history of the area.