This morning we began our first excavation of 2008! The photo above shows our excavation site, which is under the silver tarp (the tarp protects us from the sun, and protects the fossils from the rain).
For reference, the yellow arrow is pointing to the excavation site of the whale skullwe’ve been preparing in our lab. The dark line, just below and to the left of the arrow, is close to the level where the bones occur in this area, so everything above that line has to be removed by hand.
Every excavation is different, and there is usually a lot of extra preparation needed to prepare a site for digging. In this photo, Brett Dooley and volunteer Alexa Chew are digging a drainage trench above the pit. There’s rain in the forecast for next Wednesday; their drainage trench will help keep the pit from flooding. Meanwhile, I’m underneath the tarp, using a pick to remove the overlying sediment.
Later in the afternoon we were joined by two more volunteers, Carter Harrison and Grenda Dennis (who is also a regular commenter on this blog). By around 3:00 pm we were close enough to the bonebed to begin using small tools like garden trowels and screwdrivers (which make excellent digging tools).