Introducing The Book

Gone to
Rock and


Introducing The Book

Gone to
Rock and


Introducing The Book

Gone to
Rock and

“Gone to Rock and Ruin” – The book is 8 1/2 x 11, full color throughout, 50 color
photos. Available hardback, paperback and downloadable

Beryl grew up hiking in the mountains and deserts of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, where she spent weekends and holidays wandering among the ruins and rock art left by ancient peoples. Moving to the Texas Panhandle, one of the places she visited was the Alibates Flint Quarries. Naturally, she went to bookstores and museums looking for a nice coffee-table book about it. Guess what! None had ever been written.

Beryl has degrees in History, Anthropology, and Library Science. Her writing includes Trementina, a study of a New Mexico ghost town and In the Light of Past Experience, an anthology of tributes to Anthropologist Jack T. Hughes. She has also published articles in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review, Transactions of the Southwest Federation of Archaeological Societies, among others. For about five years, she created PASTIMES, the monthly newsletter of the Panhandle Archaeological Society.


Book Author

An Over View Of Book

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, thirty-five miles northeast of Amarillo, Texas, celebrated its 50th anniversary as a federal entity in 2015, but until now, there has not been a single comprehensive book written about the site.

Beryl Cain Hughes, who had long been fascinated by the site, celebrates the history and natural beauty of what had been the one and only national monument in Texas for several decades in this collection of essays.

She answers questions such as the following: 
Who were the people who live near the quarries?
Why was the flint more valuable than gold?
What did these people eat, wear, and do?
What were their most significant accomplishments?

The author also celebrates the accomplishments of Floyd V. Studer, who was the first person to recognize the importance of a hilll pockmarked with the pits that people dug in their search for good flint. He would spend his life dedicated to the site and its preservation.

Explore the history of some of the earliest people to venture into the Western Hemisphere who dug flint, set up trade exchanges, and fought to survive with Gone to Rock and Ruin.

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Worthless Agate

In 1845, Lieut. James William Abert, US Core of Topographical Engineers, led a little troop of 30 men to explore the Canadian River. On September 11, they came to a place strewn with the many-colored stones we now call Alibates flint. The stones were clearly not diamonds or any other gem, not even good building stones. Clearly worthless. He named the place Agate Bluffs and went on his way. Little did he realize the place where he stood had once been a major mining and trading center and that those “worthless” stones had been the center of it all since at least 11,000 B. C.


Only a few petroglyphs may be seen at Alibates. On one of the blufftops overlooking the Canadian River Valley, there is a turtle, a dancer or shaman, and a 20-inch glyph often called a “footprint.” The sides are long and straight – no curve where the arch would be. There are indentations which I suppose could be taken for toes. Or claws. Looking through my limited collection of rock-art books, I found only a few of these foot-like glyphs. In each case, they have been interpreted as “bear claws.”

DAILY NECESSITIES: Food and Clothing

The Alibates people were hunters and gatherers. In our present politico-cultural climate, it is probably a little dangerous to substitute “Papas and Mamas” for “hunters and gatherers,” but there you have it. The very name tells us what they ate: meat and plants. But no matter what we eat, food alone cannot keep us alive. We must have water and salt. Both are abundant in the Canadian Breaks. These earliest pioneers were living in the very midst of an unimaginable supermarket. The only things missing are plastic containers and microwave ovens.


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Just got your wonderful book!

So hunters did not kill off the Ice Age animals!

Emphasizes the role of Mamas without getting mean about it.

Just as I suspected—food is better for you when it’s cooked.

As a seasoned archaeologist, I’m surprised to find that I’ve passed by hundreds of cupules without recognizing their importance.

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