I’ve been a bit slow with updates as I try to get specimens and text ready for a new exhibit (more on that soon), and catch up on a backlog of paperwork and other organizational duties that built up while I was in the field.
Even so, I’ve had a small platoon of student volunteers working on Carmel Church material, and they’ve made a lot of progress. When excavating at Carmel Church, most of the material is removed in plaster jackets. However, in making trenches around the jackets we uncover a vast amount of other remains – sharks’ teeth, fish bones, isolated whale bones, bones that are part of an articulated skeleton but have to be removed to make the jacket smaller, and various other bits and pieces. These all go into bags and trays, and they’re the first things we prepare after an excavation.
The photo above shows some (about 1/3) of the bagged material from last month’s excavation, laid out to dry. It includes better than 100 shark teeth, and multiple taxa of both whales and fish. The wooden tray holds specimens that have are been sorted (at least in a preliminary way). The white tray near its center, for example, is filled with shark teeth that are clearly reworked. At least half of the Carmel Church teeth fall into this category, and we generally don’t sort the reworked teeth into individual taxa (it’s frequently impossible to do so).