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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.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

DAY MASTODONT DIG
Day 3, August 23, 2006


Oh boy, was I tired and sore today! At first at least. I loosened up as the morning went on. Today I began digging and ended screening. The digging of screen-worthy material began in earnest today. Before, we were able to throw away much of the material that we were shoveling. Now, though, we’ve started to excavate the bone units, and so are screening the dirt. So, all of a sudden, the buckets started coming fast and furious, and I moved onto screening. We found lots of spruce cones, and a small beaver tooth and perhaps jaw.

But, the crème de la crème was found while the guys dug. Finally, the skull was uncovered, but was unfortunately pretty disintegrated. But still, a rotten skull is better than no skull. A few nice-sized ribs were also uncovered.

We’ve been hosting many visitors at the site. In addition to the Day family members that have been showing up, high and middle school children have been taking days off of school, or showing up shortly after school. Today, volunteer Ed screened with one, and worked hard to answer questions. It is hard for some of us—I would say that several dig members are not so children-oriented. But, we try, because they love it! Nothing captures a kid’s imagination more than a paleontology dig. Even my three-year-old is starting to get interested.

The dragonflies here are the best and most varied I’ve ever seen. We’ve got a green and blue variety keeping us company, and a species with striped wings. The insects here are, in fact, gorgeous. I watched them quite a bit today, because screening doesn’t have to keep all a body’s attention all the time.

I’m back to mapping. We’ll start mapping the bones into the grid using the total station, which provides geographic and elevation locations relative to an artificial point. This is a so mewhat long and tedious process, with much writing and pausing.

So tomorrow, more sun, more lovely bugs, and another lovely day.

Peggy Fisherkeller
Curator of Geology
Indiana State Museum