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Department of Anthropology

Idaho State University Archaeological Fieldschool 2012

The 2011 Idaho State University Archaeological Fieldschoolwill be held at the Gault Site in south‐central Texas, in cooperation with the Texas Archaeological Research Lab, University of Texas.

The Gault Site, midway between Georgetown and Ft. Hood in central Texas, has a long history of archeological investigation as well as uncontrolled artifact digging. Located in a small wooded valley with a spring‐fed creek and an unlimited supply of excellent flint, the site was occupied intensively during all major periods of the prehistoric era. James E. Pearce, the first professional archeologist in Texas, learned of the GaultFarm site and excavated there in 1929‐1930.

Over the next 60 years, artifact collectors churned up the upper deposits over almost the entire site, but stopped digging when the dark rich middensoil played out. In 1990, an artifact collector dug deeper and found Clovis artifacts along with several unusual incised stones, something never before found with Clovis materials. Learning of the find, Drs. Thomas R. Hester and Michael B. Collins of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, visited the site. In work from 1998‐2002, that began with the excavation of a mammoth mandible and associated Clovis artifacts, the Gault Project recovered more than one million artifacts from the site. Currently the Gault staff is analyzing the recovered data and beginning the production of a monograph slated for publication in 2010.

Archaeologists are focusing their efforts on excavating areas below the Clovis layer and are attempting to determine if Gault will yield evidence of people who lived in Central Texas prior to 13,500 years ago. Deep tests conducted at the site have repeatedly turned up evidence of pre‐Clovis occupation.

Idaho State University innitially worked on the Gault Site, summer of 2007, at the invitation of Dr. Michael Collins, TARL. We tested site integrity in the area of a small spring heading the creek, finding that there were intact Clovis layers below disturbed Archaic midden.

The Gault Site is unique in North America in preserving a detailed record of Clovis reduction strategies. Clovis people camped along the stream routinely to use the outcrops of Edwards Plateau flint. The Gault Site also offers the extreme rarity of intact cultural deposits stratigraphically below Clovis. We will be working with Gault Project staff to systematically expose and document these Pre‐Clovis components.

In 2011 we return to excavate Pre‐Clovis levels at the Gault Site dated to almost 18,000 years ago.

Other researchers working on the Gault Site this summer include Dr. Michael Waters, Director of the Center for First Americans, Texas A&M University, Dr. Bruce Bradley, Exeter University, Dr. James Adovasio, Mercyhurst College, and Dr. Dennis Stanford, the Smithsonian Institution. Idaho State University is privileged to be working alongside such distinguished colleagues.

Click on the links below to get more information about this field opportunity, or download a field school poster for display in your department.

Department of Anthropology • College of Arts and Letters • Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8005, Pocatello, ID  83209-8005
Tel: (208) 282-2629 • Fax: (208) 282-4944 • Email: clovrebe@isu.edu

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