Day 13, September 2, 2006
Well, instead of waiting to write down my little blog, I decided to do this one fresh from the dirt. I am sitting here in the back seat of our fancy DNR car writing this down as Katherine drives and volunteer Ed directs us back to horror hotel. We are all really tired; kinda like we were hit by a Mack Truck. Today was a beautiful day, but it got hot and we all got some good sun burns. But, we thankfully had some great help today, particularly a budding paleontologist, Kyle, and his mom. You guys really helped us move some dirt! - - Good luck at State this year!
The majority of the day was spent shoveling and hauling muck (sound familiar?)… But today, we really battled water. After we had found that area of bone (scapula/ribs) the other day, we realized that we needed to dig down deeper, so emergent ground water became an even bigger hassle to us than before. We would dig down certain little areas, then have to immediately dig trenches around to guide all of the water towards the water pumps. Then we’d throw plywood boards on top so that we could stand, and dig some more. By the end of the afternoon, we were all wondering where the other parts of the animal lay. We had clearly dug all around the area of exposed bone and had dug even deeper, but we found nothing. No new bones were uncovered at all today, which was completely unexpected. We were excited about a potential bone bonanza, but it was not to be. That’s a hard reality to face after so much hard work, but it’s all a part of this paleontology gig… sometimes stuff just doesn’t turn up like you’d think.
John W. and I bagged up the exposed bones (scapula/ribs) and we assigned numbers to them for tracking. Rex worked to draw a sketch map of the bones in situ (in place), just before we pulled them from the ground. As the bones came out, John and I were careful to make sure that there was plenty of water in the bag. The bones are well preserved, but once they start to dry out, they can fall apart. Keeping them wet is crucial to preservation.
On another good note, I was able to set up our Total Station over a known point like a pro… Damon and Bill would have been proud. After that was completed, Rex and I mapped in the bone cluster (before we removed them, of course) AND some reference points on the nearby house and barn.
I am signing off for now with a little warning. If you were thinking about coming out to the site this week, you will probably need to change you’re plans. Word has it that if we can’t find anything tomorrow morning, we will pack it in and go home.
Archaeology and Natural History Collections Manager
Indiana State Museum