Stones and Bones: The Gault Site


The Gault site, located 45 miles northwest of Austin, was known as a place where amateur archaeologists could “pay to dig” ancient artifacts. Professional archaeologists wrote off the plundered site as a lost cause. In 1991, Mike Collins, PhD archaeologist at UT Austin, saw clues others had missed. He and his team discovered stone tools and other evidence of people living in Central Texas 20,000 years ago, making the Gault site a game changer in the long and fierce debate about when and how people lived in the Americas during the last ice age.

With the help of an army of volunteers, Collins risked his career and his personal wealth to wage a daunting 30-year quest to protect this land from looters. In 2007, he purchased it with his own money and donated the land to The Archaeological Conservancy to preserve it for research and public education. Intrigued by this complicated tale, filmmaker Olive Talley is close to completing a documentary film about Mike Collins and the Gault site, now regarded as one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere. She will tell us about the making of the film and show excerpts from this yet-to-be-titled film. Talley is an award-winning producer, writer, and journalist whose career spans documentary filmmaking, network television, and news reporting for newspapers, United Press International, and radio.