Despite the fact we like to tell our students “It’s waited 16,000 years, it can wait another half an hour” we never seem to have enough time in the lab. We have been very busy BUT “busy with what” is the question we hear from our members and followers.
First and foremost the last couple of years has been the Gault Monograph. This is a scientific report on the Clovis and earlier occupations in just two of the 15 major excavation areas at the Gault Site. Because the information is of such importance we also must make sure every i is dotted and t is crossed. Most of the chapters now have a complete draft done but that doesn’t mean you’ll see the volume soon. It will get edited internally, then the publisher will send it out for peer review, then we will edit it again all before it finally goes to press. It is a long process but a necessary one if you are proposing new data and hypotheses to the archaeological community.
Our field director, Dr. Steve Howard, and his crew of students and volunteers have also been very busy this year. They have worked on five different properties so far this year with at least three needing deep stratigraphic testing (a whole lot of digging). We always have several properties on our waiting list as well as ongoing excavations. Recently our staff looked at one in the general neighborhood of Gault that looked a lot like it in terms of geology and archaeology.
We have to process all the things that are recovered. So, while analysis is still ongoing on some of the Gault materials, we are processing what Steve’s crew brought in, and examining artifacts and photos of artifacts sent to us from all over. Recently one collector who worked on the Gault Site when it was a pay-to-dig site, J.D. Zeptner, brought in his collections for us to look over. We also were able to begin some testing upstream from Gault this winter with the permission of our neighboring landowner.
If that wasn’t enough we have a very active outreach program so members of the staff are in and out giving tours, demonstrations, and talks about a variety of subjects. This year we are doing some upgrades to the facilities at the Gault Site including signage, a teaching amphitheater, a new atlatl range and possibly even a new trail emphasizing Native American plant use.
In short, we often have our hands full here, but we love every minute of it. I learn something new almost every single day in the lab and I consider that a wonderful gift!