Solite Excavation: Day 11

Group with backhoe 102514

Today’s blog is dedicated to the foreman of the quarry, Scott Traenkner. Scott has been supportive of our excavation since the start and offered his skills should we need them. On day 11 of our excavation, we were able to take Scott up on his offer in a big way. In order to ease overburden removal – overburden including large, heavy slabs of shale – Scott drove his “small” backhoe into the pit and cleared the center. He removed spoil that had built up during the past 3 months and more, down to the bedrock.

Scott and backhoe

With this new space, we will be able to continue our excavation into 2015 and extend our area by at least 60 sq. ft. Many, many thanks to you, Scott, for everything you have done and continue to do for VMNH!!!


Our crew this week included one of the VMNH Educators, Sydney Brown, Bill and Mary Jane Henika from Virginia Tech, Kal, Jim and me. Fossils were relatively scarce this week. We collected a few Tany. fragments and plant material. Below are a couple pictures of the notable plants. In addition, we collected ~7 cubic feet of insect bed.


Weird plant thing

Below is what I suspect to be the distal end of an insect wing (approx.  6 mm). Thanks to my photographer sister, Jennifer Daugherty, for taking the picture of the wing fragment.

Bug Life-1

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