Wyoming Day 11

In advance of an excavation, I usually develop a pretty clear plan of how large an area I’m going to remove. Generally,by 3 or 4 days into a two-week excavation I know how things are going to proceed; what order the bones will be removed, and on what days. Sometimes, however, the deposit messes up my elegant plans.By last Saturday, I had my plan for the rest of this week. We had four major bones to remove: the large leg bone, two vertebrae, and a rib. According to my plan, we would remove the first vertebra on Monday, the rib on Tuesday, the second vertebra on Wednesday, and the leg bone on Friday. With the vertebra removal yesterday, we were on pace. This morning we needed to remove the rib, and everything went smoothly. Here’s the rib, ready for jacketing:

The same rib, now jacketed, just before lunch; still on schedule:

With the rib removed, we could begin work on the second vertebra, and this is where my schedule started falling apart. Here’s the second vertebra, taken from the front of the pit:

Here’s a marked-up copy of the same image from my notes:

There’s a third vertebra further into the wall, sitting partially on top of the second one. This is actually a pretty significant find for us. It appears that these are consecutive vertebrae, and most likely the one we took out yesterday was part of the same series. This is the first good evidence we have of multiple bones from a single animal at Two Sisters 2 (the femur and tibia may well be part of the same leg, but the evidence for that isn’t as strong). Additional digging revealed more bone, possibly even another vertebra, behind these two.

Because of all the additional bone, combined with the tight working space, we decided to enlarge the pit, which is a somewhat risky move this late in the excavation (we plan to finish this Saturday). By the end of the day tomorrow we should have a better idea of how many vertebrae there are, and what we need to do to remove them.

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