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Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Located in White River State Park in the heart of Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum is a wonderful place to find everything you never expected. Whether you are a visitor to the state or a life-long Hoosier, this world-class institution will allow you to explore Indiana’s past, present and future through artistic, cultural and scientific exhibits. Starting with the birth of earth and tracing Hoosier history into the 21st century, the museum offers an eclectic and ever-changing adventure. Constructed of all Indiana materials including limestone, sandstone, steel, brick and glass, the museum’s exhibit space covers 72,000 square feet, and the organization maintains a collection of more than 400,000 artifacts. From the soaring Great Hall showcasing Robert Indiana’s INDIANA obelisk to 92 pieces of sculpture representing the 92 Indiana counties, even the building itself is a work of art. The museum is the crossroads of everything interesting, educational and unique about the state. The museum's collection began in 1862. The new building opened in 2002.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

MEGENITY CAVE DIG

Day 10, July 26, 2006

A.M. was much like yesterday -- muggy and still only more so. It’s getting Hot. But, the rain we need is supposed to come tomorrow in torrents. Just in case, we moved the big truck all the way to the empty field at the edge of the woods to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in the mud. It’s a smart move, but it means carrying any equipment we want to take off the site every night an extra couple hundred yards. Just want you want to do at the end of a hard day – lug heavy . . . stuff . . . an extra couple hundred yards. We also moved the two porto-lets (which, only Michelle uses anyway) for the same reason. It’s a tight turnaround in the woods and John smacked the crap out of a very large tree with his truck in the process. Seemed to do lots more damage to the tree than to his truck.

ISM camera crew, Leslie & Ben, showed up around 11:00 to shoot some footage for documentary and whatever else purposes. Katherine, one of the other cultural history curators, came in close behind. Leslie’s shot film at a couple of digs and, I think, had been in the cave before. Ben and Katherine had never been in any cave. It’s always fun to have newbies to show around. Like anything else, you get used to it and everything becomes familiar and you kind of forget how extraordinary the expedition really is. It’s nice to be reminded by the fascination easy to spot in the newcomers’ faces. Leslie and Ben shot lots of footage and Katherine helped out at the screens. Leslie also took every opportunity to remind me just what an evil slacker I really am. It’s always comforting to know that you have the loving support of your colleagues. Speaking of which, Rex had to bail today to attend a meeting in Indy. The cave is a much different atmosphere absent his . . . um . . . colorful(?) persona. He’ll be back late tonight.

Digging has been generally uneventful. No new bone finds worth bragging about. Mostly scraps and more recent (a few hundred to a couple thousand years old) odds and ends that appear to have washed into the cave. We do seem to be opening a “new” passage out of the cave. We’ve been looking for a second entrance almost from the beginning. There’s much too much material scattered throughout the rooms to have all come in from the entrance we know. Some things probably washed into the pits directly by way of deep water channels, but there must have been at least one more “main” entrance. This new opening off to the left of the Twilight Room looks like the best bet so far. O.K., I know this is a little esoteric but, in the absence of dire wolf skulls this year, it’s how we get our kicks. Just humor us a little.

Digging might be done for this season. Grids got squared up today, levels were finished off and scattered rubble was pretty much cleared away. We’re at as good a place as any to stop for now. Doesn’t mean we’re finished – not by a long shot. There are over 100 buckets yet to wash and breaking down will take at least ½ a day. We’re winding down, but the most burdensome work remains. And as usual, there will be more than a few surprises along the way I’m sure.

R. Dale Ogden

Chief Curator of Cultural History
Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites