Archaeologist Mike Collins risked it all to save 30 acres deep in the heart of Texas.

What he found here changed history.

The Gault Film tells the amazing story of how a long-looted piece of land in Texas turned out to be one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere.

Archaeologist Mike Collins and his team discovered evidence of people living in Central Texas 20,000 years ago – thousands of years before many scientists thought humans first ventured into the New World.

That makes this place, now known as The Gault Archaeological Site, located 45 miles northwest of Austin, a game changer in the long and fierce debate about when and how people lived in the Americas during the last ice age. It challenges a theory that the first people, dubbed the Clovis culture, arrived only 13,500 years ago.

Collins and his team found stone tools that were Older than Clovis by thousands of years, the largest collection of Clovis artifacts ever found in one location, and an array of intriguing, incised stones that may be some of the earliest Art in the Americas.

For decades, Gault had a notorious reputation as a dark place where looters and collectors dug up precious artifacts.

Other archaeologists wrote it off as a lost cause, but Collins saw clues others missed.

With the help of an army of volunteers, he risked his career and his personal wealth to wage a daunting 30-year quest to rescue this land. Ultimately, he purchased it with his own money and donated it to The Archaeological Conservancy to preserve it for research and public education.

Without Collins’ vision, leadership and passion, this site would have been lost to history.

Interactive Timeline

Scroll horizontally to watch videos and learn more of the story.

1904 Henry C. Gault

buys land now known as the
Gault Archaeological Site.

 

Looting continues despite landowner’s efforts.

1944 Nealy Lindsey

buys land from Henry Gault. More artifacts are removed from the property.

1990-1991 David Olmstead

a weekend, amateur digger, finds unusual, incised stones with a Clovis point.

“It looked like a WWI Battlefield.”

1998

Seven years later, Collins is called back to the site by the new owners, Elmer Lindsey’s nephew and his family.

1999-2002

Collins earns the family’s trust and secures a research lease.

“It was a hive of activity and very intense.”

May 2002

In Collins’ skilled hands, the team sees tantalizing clues of an unknown culture thousands of years Older Than Clovis. Collins gears up to go the distance, but once again, he’s stopped short.

2002-2007

The Lindseys have a change of heart and decide the property is too important for them to keep.

2007

Collins dug deep into his pockets to purchase the Gault site. He then donated it to The Archaeological Conservancy, a national non-profit that preserves America’s most important cultural sites.

2007-2018

More challenges lie ahead.

With the land in his full control, Collins makes the final push, launching the deepest and most painstaking excavations at Gault.

2018

The site makes international news again with the publication of evidence of an Older-Than-Clovis culture at Gault.

2020

GSAR Board President Tim Brown and Florence stone sculptor Bob Ragan create stone monument for entrance to Gault.

2022

Because of donors like you, full production of the film is underway.

1904
1929
1930
1944-1988
1990-1991
1997-1998
1999-2002
May 2002
2002-2007
2007-2018
2018
2020
2022

University of Texas
Professor J.E. Pearce

University of Texas Professor J.E. Pearce finds “an abundance of beautiful flint artifacts,” but says the site is being “destroyed” by people who “dig the specimens for sale.”

“An abundance of beautiful flint artifacts.”

The site becomes a pay-to-dig eventually run by Nealy’s oldest son, Elmer.

Dr. Tom Hester and Dr. Michael Collins from the Texas Archaeological Research Lab (TARL) at the University of Texas (UT) meet Olmstead and verify his “unprecedented” discovery.

Over the next three years, Collins and his army of professionals and volunteers overcome enormous obstacles to find archaeological gold left behind by prehistoric hunters and gatherers.

He forms the non-profit Gault School of Archaeological Research and swings open the doors for public tours until field work concludes in 2016 and moves into the lab.

1930’s
Field Work
Incised Stones
Found
Three Year
Research Lease
DONATE NOW!

Thanks to generous donations from these foundations and nearly 200 individual donors across the United States, we have reached our funding target to start production. As of March 2022, we have shifted into full production mode. We are exploring distribution options and hope to complete work and premiere the film in 2023.

We are grateful and profoundly humbled by the significant support from these major funders:

  • Clements Foundation
  • Still Water Foundation
  • The Summerlee Foundation
  • LaNoe and Paul Scherer Family Foundation (from Jane and James Flieller)
  • W.D. Kelley Foundation
  • Texas Historical Foundation
  • Anita Savage and Paul Baker
  • Harry A. Miller III DVM
  • Shirlee J. and Taylor Gandy

And these additional donors:

  • Michael Adler and Jeanne Athos Adler
  • Michael Aiuvalasit
  • Dana Albright
  • Christy Cummings Andres
  • Joyce Anthony
  • John Bartlett
  • Christy Bednar
  • Kristin Terk Belt and Wheat Belt
  • Mike Bentley
  • Deborah Boisvert
  • Lynn Boswell
  • Edward Bousquet
  • Victoria Bowles
  • Doug Boyd
  • Tim Brown
  • J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan Foundation
  • Sandy Bull
  • Trish and Ric Burnett
  • V. Joan Campbell
  • Barbara Canetti and Carlos Rios
  • Mary Condon and Bob Ragan
  • Carol Considine
  • Jerry and Brenda Copeland
  • B.A. and J.G. Cox
  • Teresa Crawford
  • Ben Daniel
  • Joannie Danielides
  • Molly Davidson
  • F. Ferrell Davis
  • Richard Denney
  • John C. DePrez Jr.
  • Yvonne Donaldson
  • Frank J. Dwyer
  • Heather Dykstra
  • Gary Eubank
  • Heidi Evans and Josh Getlin
  • James Everett
  • Dennis T. Fenwick
  • Wes Ferguson
  • Andrea Fleischer
  • Jane and James Flieller
  • Marilyn Fowler
  • Elizabeth Foy
  • Marni and Jeff Francell
  • Mary Jo Galindo
  • Regina and Jim Galvin
  • Sylvia Gambardella
  • Rebecca Garber
  • John Garrett
  • Glass and Buttons Media
  • Grace Glover and Linton Ward
  • Marvin H Gohlke Jr. and Dilana Gohlke
  • Michael Hall and Eva Kush
  • Sally Hamilton
  • Dr. Gerald Hass
  • Kay Hatterman
  • Freda Heald
  • Karla Henson
  • Nancy Hill
  • Randall and Amy Hill
  • Caleb and Susan Hollingshead
  • Marty Holtman
  • Philip and Jean Houck
  • Anne Humes
  • Caroline Humphries
  • Celia Isbrecht
  • Diane Jennings
  • Margaret “Pegi” Jodry
  • Patricia Jones
  • Dennis Kearns
  • Carrie Keith
  • Lisa and Neil Kieran
  • Shaun and Sheryl Kieran
  • John Kiernan
  • Kenneth Kosidio
  • Katherine Lawrence
  • George Leduc
  • Dr. Scott E. LePor
  • Mary Leyendecker
  • James Lighthizer
  • Linda Linam
  • Trish Lopacki and Bob Waring
  • Carol Macaulay-Jameson
  • John Magers
  • Lori Maloy
  • Robin Matthews
  • Chris and Sara McCaffrey
  • Diane and Larry McCain
  • Robert and Debra McMillan
  • Karen Meyers
  • Hedrich Michaelsen
  • Norma Minnis and Gary Gray
  • James and Jennifer Moreland
  • Frederick and Peggy Morse
  • Joana Moths-O’Neil
  • Claudia and Bruce Newman
  • Bruce Nichols
  • Laura Noe
  • Tom Nuckols
  • Larry and Glenn Offutt
  • Karen Palmer
  • Juan Palomo
  • Kay Parker
  • Joyce Pearsall
  • Sandy Peck
  • Cyndy and Bob Perkins
  • Sam and Rebecca Pfiester
  • Gary Pinkerton
  • Joe and Laura Klein Plunkett
  • Erin Powers
  • Janice Reed
  • Monica Reeves and Gordon Hunter
  • Patricia Remick
  • Linda Rennie and Germaine Kropilak
  • Karen Roberts
  • Rich Robertson
  • John C. Robinson, Jr.
  • Andrea Robisheaux
  • Debby and Kevin Rogers
  • Jay Roussel
  • Bill Russell
  • Ralph Russell
  • Mark and Carol Schnatzmeyer
  • Marika Schoolar
  • Amanda Shannon
  • Linda Sikes
  • Lauren Silverman
  • Calvin Smith
  • Shellee Smith and Jim Dowling
  • Loren Steffy
  • Stoney Knoll Archaeological Supplies
  • Phillip Terry and Mary Gilliland
  • Rita Vallet
  • M.E. Walker
  • Jane Wallace
  • Ron Weiss
  • Jim Wieck
  • Mary L. Williamson
  • Kay and Aubrey Wilson
  • Ann P. Wood
  • Donald and Jill Wood
  • Sandy and Dudley Youman
  • Georgie Zaidi
  • Bill Zook and Debbie Bozeman-Zook

We also wish to thank The Williamson Museum for graciously serving as the fiscal agent for the Gault Film project. Because of its status as a recognized 501C3 nonprofit, all donations and contributions made to the film through the Museum are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The film aligns directly with the Museum’s mission to collect, preserve, and exhibit items relating to the rich culture and heritage of Williamson County. We are grateful to the Museum board members and staff, led by Executive Director Nancy Hill, for their heartfelt and enthusiastic support.

If you wish to participate in making this historic film, additional contributions are always appreciated and often needed. All donations will further production and promotion of the film.

Directly through the Museum’s website:

The Williamson Museum

Please click on Olive Talley’s name as the fundraiser in the drop-down menu at the bottom of the form.

Or, through the Museum’s PayPal account:

Paypal

Or, mail a check directly to the Museum:

Please make the check payable to The Williamson Museum and SPECIFY it is for the Gault Documentary.

The Williamson Museum
Attn: Nancy Hill, Executive Director
716 South Austin Avenue
Georgetown, TX 78626
Phone: 512-943-1670
Fax: 512-943-1672

Photos of production team activities

The Gault Documentary Team

We are a team of seasoned professionals who enjoy collaborating on stories that matter. We pride ourselves on high production values and ethical storytelling. And we share a passion for this film.

Photos of production team activities

Director/ Producer/ Writer

Olive Talley is an award-winning producer, writer and journalist with a career that spans documentary filmmaking, network television and news reporting for newspapers, an international wire service and radio stations in Texas. Her first feature-length film, ALL RISE For the Good of the Children, premiered at the 2019 USA Film Festival in Dallas and was nominated for a Lone Star Emmy. Olive’s work in New York as a producer at Dateline NBC and ABC’s Prime Time Live! news magazine shows won two Emmy nominations, a National Headliner Award for Outstanding Network Documentary, a Du-Pont Columbia Award for Hurricane Katrina team coverage, and a CINE Golden Eagle Award. Her investigative reporting in radio and newspapers earned dozens of state and national awards, most notably a citation as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award, and two Texas Headliner Awards. Her clients include various commercial and non-profit groups, including the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Olive also attended Harvard University on a Nieman Fellowship. She lives in Dallas.

olivetalley.com

Editor

J Hutton is an award-winning creative collaborator with a passion for telling stories that touch the heart and motivate the mind. He elevates storytelling by working closely with producers and directors to conceptualize visuals and storylines. He edited a series of mini documentaries for the Associated Press (What Can Be Saved: Living with Lions, Ghosts of the Past and Fight for Survival) that won a Webby Award in the documentary category. He was nominated for a Lone Star Emmy for ALL Rise For the Good of the Children, and he worked closely on a nationally syndicated documentary, Lube Job: How Louisiana Got Screwed with Emmy-winning photographer, Guy Hernandez. J has also edited music videos; marketing videos for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking; and educational videos for the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. Corporate and commercial clients include Ford Motor Co., AT&T, Frito Lay, the Dallas Cowboys, Mazda, HP, NTT Data, Genoa Healthcare, Six Flags, and 7-Eleven, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. For four years, he edited the nationally syndicated news segment, An American Moment, hosted by James Earl Jones and Charles Kuralt, and various episodes for the television series, Small Business Today and Walker, Texas Ranger. J works with independent producers and agencies. He lives in Dallas.

Photos of production team activities

Directors of Photography/ Cinematographers

Matt Franklin has worked on every continent except Antarctica, primarily as a sports and documentary photographer. His coverage of the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Camera Work in Sports and two other Emmy nominations. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero for NBC sports, and more recently shot sports features throughout the US for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). His 25-year career includes cinematography featured on National Geographic programs and national newsmagazine shows, such as Dateline NBC, and reality-based programs. Matt is an athlete himself, once ranked as the third best amateur in the world in slalom skateboarding. He lives in Austin, TX.

Chris McCaffrey is an Emmy-Award-winning Director of Photography who has lived life behind and through the lens for 28 years. Chris has crisscrossed the globe filming everything from mounds of pasta in Bologna to mountaintop Cholitas in Bolivia, and just about everything in-between. Chris has a true love of documenting the world and the unique people and stories in it. His clients include: National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, History Channel, TLC, HGTV and national news organizations. He is based in San Antonio, TX.

Charlie Pearce is a freelance Cinematographer and Director of Photography based in Austin, TX. With over 10 years’ experience with many different types of photography and production roles, he specializes in long and short form narrative, documentary, and commercial cinematography centered around evocative imagery and a 'story first' mentality. Charlie has hung from cables and speeding cars to get compelling, dynamic shots. His clients include Yeti, Hilton, The Innocence Project, and various production companies.

charliepearcedp.com

Director of Still Photography

Kenneth Garrett is a renowned independent photographer specializing in Archaeology, Paleontology and ancient cultures worldwide. His editorial work has graced 14 covers of National Geographic Magazine and 60 articles, including a 1999 story that involved the Gault site; 15 books; and other magazines including Smithsonian, Air and Space, Archaeology, Fortune, Forbes, Time, Life, Audubon, National Wildlife and Natural History. Corporate clients include IBM, Marriott Corp., UNC Aviation and Starbucks Coffee. His imagery emphasizes sites of major discoveries worldwide. With an education and keen interest in the origins of civilization, Ken has formed long-standing relationships with the foremost authorities in the field of Egyptian, Mayan and Pre-Columbian archaeology, and Human Evolution. His work is currently featured in the National Geographic Tutankhamun and Cleopatra traveling exhibits and previously in exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum in NY, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, among others. Ken lives in Virginia.

KennethGarrett.com

Sound

Chris Montefiore — Plano-based freelance sound mixer with more than 25 years of extensive studio and field experience. Clients include: Dateline NBC, Fox News, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Clinton Anderson Downunder Horsemanship, the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU, and numerous network, cable and reality shows.

Scott Snyder — Austin-based freelance sound mixer who has worked on many reality shows and feature films, including Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.

Scott Snyder on IMDB

Pablo Veliz — Founder of CineVeliz Media Group, a San Antonio-based production company. Pablo is an award-winning filmmaker himself, whose first feature premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

cineveliz.com/

First Assistant Camera/ Grip

Ryan Goodrich
Heather Grothues

Drone footage

Sean Zook
Chris McCaffrey

Website Design and Creation

Randall Hill
Frank Miller

hillcreativegroup.com

Website Hosting

Jim Wieck
Tim Roberts
Bobby Warren

wieck.com

Production Assistant/Researcher

Kate Costanza

Contact Info:

Olive Talley
otalley@att.net
214-435-0745

olivetalley.com