It has been hot in Texas.Not just hot, that’s just not an adequate word for the heat and humidity combined that assaulted us this summer. It’s tough to get volunteers for outdoor work in Texas during the summer so our field director, Dr. Steve Howard, not only takes off to southwestern New York State but then posts about their work (and better summer weather).If you’d like to check out his Allegheny Valley Project here’s the link: http://www.alleghenyvalleyproject.com/
Steve and his crew of stalwart volunteers went back to work here in Texas last weekend. We test a lot of sites here looking for material comparable to what we’ve found at Gault. We can’t redo experiments like most of our scientific colleagues but we are just as interested in confirming patterns. Another site in Texas with similar materials and dates would go a long way toward determining what an older culture looks like.
We started getting interns and volunteers in the last two weeks as another university semester begins. A lot of work has been done (and will be done) on the 2.6 million artifacts from the Gault site by students. Over the past 14 years we have had 6 Ph.D. dissertations and 13 Master’s theses come from studies of the collection. We hope to have many more in the future and the GSAR is happy to host students who wish to look at the collection for a particular study or need comparative materials for studies of their own. This is one of the most important functions of a large curated collection – fostering the education (and innovation) of future generations of archaeologists. We also host visiting researchers of other stripes as well. Recently Xabi Otero Muerzo, Director of the Jauzarrea Fund for the study and dissemination of the Basque Culture, visited our lab for a few days to take a look at the incised stones from Gault and interview Dr. Collins.
Our mission is “research and education regarding the first peoples in the western hemisphere” and we take the education part very seriously. Very recently we were asked to give presentations of our latest video at the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History and the Institute for Texan Cultures in San Antonio. Both were well received but those were simply more visible signs of our outreach program. Our staff has done 66 public presentations and tours of the Gault Archaeological Site so far this year and we have another 30 on our calendar before the end of the year. This years total audience will number around 8,000 people (and we’re not counting the 50,000 that attended UT Explore this year and came by our table nor the more than 100 schools who have received free copies of our films)!