SALADO -- For Dr. Collins and his team, digging deep brings big results.
As the team wraps up a 20-year project at one of the oldest archeological digs in North America, new evidence reveals what may be the oldest settlement of North Americans right here in Central Texas.
"We're probably back about 15,000 years now and what we know is, from our years of work here is that every single period, known period, in the prehistory of Central Texas is represented at this site," said Collins.
Dr. Collins said all of their work contributes to the larger picture of the history of North Americans.
"This is one of a handful of sites, that goes back about, uh, more than 13,500 years ago. so everything we learn here in that 13,000 year time bracket is new information," said Collins.
What makes the Gault site a promising spot is the endless supply of natural resources.
When investigators look for a site, one of the questions they ask is, why is this archeological site here? And for this specific site it's things like a reliable water source, an abundance of stone for making tools, and diverse plant an animal life.
And those resources provided enough to survive even through extreme conditions.
"We have archeological and geological evidence that these springs have been absolutely reliable, they get weak, but they continue to flow even in the driest years," said Collins.
For now Dr. Collins and his crew will just keep digging, hoping to uncover more secrets of our first inhabitants.
"This site, and a lot of others, have given us a picture of the past of Central Texas, that, there has been an awful lot of change. We don't even really know when people first got here. So we're, we're working on that problem and that's what we're continuing to pursue."