This fall we received some exciting news – the GSAR was recognized by the White House as one of America’s Preservation Stewards, organizations that help preserve America’s cultural heritage. Only 57 organizations have been thus honored. Even better, the award itself was not for the GSAR or our staff but was “in appreciation for the efforts of its volunteers in preserving cultural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.” This is national recognition for the nearly 3,000 volunteers who have worked with the GSAR in the field and in the lab to further our understanding of the earliest peoples in the Americas. The staff of the Gault School is VERY proud of all our volunteers.
The staff of the GSAR has been growing again. Veteran archaeologist Mike Quigg joined us this fall and jumped right into monograph preparation, as well as starch grain and other technical analyses. Laura Vilsack finished her M.A. at Texas State this winter and has stayed on to expand her research into the living floor in Area 12 at the Gault Site. Her work has shown that the floor is not square but rectangular (a small area to the east was slightly lower than the west) and may date to later than first proposed. New OSL dates are being processed by the University of Sheffield as this is being written.
Last year our outreach program did very well. We supply speakers free to organizations within a 100-mile radius of our office (and further if someone will pay expenses), attend archaeological fairs and similar events, and conduct tours of the Gault Archaeological Site (monthly scheduled tours and tours for any group of 10 or more). Probably due to some early and unexpected publicity most of our tours in 2016 were full so nearly 1,000 people got to see the site. Another 4,000 attended one of our other outreach events. If you or an organization you’re affiliated with would like to have a speaker or tour just click the “Talks & Tours” tab on our website.
Besides working on materials from the Gault Site, the GSAR conducts other research in to early sites and cooperates with other projects. This last year we conducted survey, testing and excavation on many sites here in Texas – around 30 per year. Volunteers supplement our staff and are currently working on sites near Troy, Evant and Lampasas, TX. This summer we hope to collaborate on a field school with a GSAR alum at UT – Arlington. Our XRF technicians looked at items from many different projects from Roman marbles to southwestern turquoise to historical artifacts. Our lithic analysts assisted in examining the artifacts from the last excavations at Monte Verde Chile and new excavations at Huaca Prieta, Peru. It can be hard to keep up with the large number of GSAR projects but I learn something new everyday!