Before our annual Volunteer Day at Gault – a half work day when volunteers help us maintain the Gault Archaeological Site – I (Clark) spend a day walking around the site with a clipboard making a list of the things that we need to get done. I did this, as usual at the beginning of April and then, on April 12th, we had a tornado visit the site. It was one of several in Texas that day and turned out to be a high-end F3. It touched down somewhere right around Gault and proceeded down the Buttermilk Creek valley for 13 miles. We were very lucky, none of our structures at the site were damaged and the only thing we had to fix was the electrical line to our barn. BUT we did lose a lot of trees – really big trees were either uprooted or just twisted off. I was out at the site early the next morning, took a look around, and then I ripped up my list of jobs for the volunteers – this year the job was downed trees.
Volunteer Day was on Saturday, May 7th and we lucked out with some overcast for much of the morning masking the hot Texas sun. This was our largest turnout ever with more than 100 people showing up with pickup trucks, chainsaws, buck saws and loppers. They did an incredible job of taking apart the trees that lay on our fences and tour paths and built up some truly large burn piles. After some hot sweaty work (I’m thinking of billing Volunteer Day as a weight loss program!) we fed everyone some fantastic BBQ from the Texas Twisted Skillet in Florence and sent them home to recover. We HUGELY appreciate all those who helped make our recovery a fairly painless process – Our thanks to all of you!!
I first came to Gault in 1999 as an escape from other archaeological paperwork and because Mike let me excavate. It quickly became apparent that this was a very special place – not just the amazing archaeology but the team of people Dr. Michael Collins had gathered to investigate it. I stayed for over 23 years – excavating, analyzing, writing and curating the Gault materials – and helping to set up the Gault School of Archaeological Research to continue the dream of research and education that Mike and I had. I owe a great deal to Mike Collins and I have learned a tremendous amount from him. The time has come to pass the baton to someone else and I will be leaving the GSAR at the end of the summer and Sergio Ayala will be taking over the reigns of the nonprofit as interim Executive Director. I have a lot of work to catch up on so I’m sure everyone interested will see me fairly often.