Carmel Church-Day 1

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).

Finally, by around 4:00 pm, we began uncovering bone, as indicated by the yellow arrows below:

I can’t tell yet what kind of bones these are, but they’re a promising beginning.

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This entry was posted in "Popeye", Carmel Church mysticetes, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Carmel Church-Day 1

  1. Nita says:

    I have to ask, when going on these field trips how do we (common folks) dig and not damage something?

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    On the public field trips, I stand over you as you dig and make sure that you haven’t gotten into anything we want to protect. We only run trips when a curator is present to evaluate anything that’s uncovered. And it often works out nicely for us, because visitors sometimes find important specimens that end up in out collections.

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