Wednesday, July 17

It was another pleasant day today with some cloud cover again and a pretty steady breeze. Don’t know the high temp but it was a classic, beautiful Montana day. I worked on the same dig site again; removing a little more of the rock/dirt overburden & probed to the layer that had encased all the bones found here so far. I hit something and thought maybe this site still has more to show! I cleared all around the hard item and thought it was more bone but it turned out to be a good old fashioned rock – bummer. I finished up the day by clearing the site, gathering all tools and pulling most of the mapping stake that marked the site. I left the main control point stake in place just in case I come back by this dig site before we leave and find some evidence of just a tip of something starting to poke out! It’s not likely though. I believe the site is closed, as you have to make an educated guess about when to stop once the last bone is found. Of course it’s hard to know if “that one” really was the last bone or if we just dig two more inches farther back maybe we’ll hit more fossils! We dug several feet in all directions past the last bone found so I’m declaring the site officially closed. It was sad because when we left this dig site last year I was sure there were more bones going back into the hill. Now the work needs to start in earnest back in the workshop to clean up all the bones we removed to try to identify the specimen and try to confirm the 25 or so bones removed are all likely from one animal.

Here’s a photo of one of the vertebrae that came from this dig that we removed last season and cleaned over the winter.

I moved out all the gear and supplies from this dig area and dropped it all off at our second site we found last season. We left all the fossilized dinosaur bones in place at this 2nd site last year as we left. I’ll shovel off the dirt cover then remove the temporary plaster field jacket applied to the top surface of the bones we found. I plan to alternate working on this established site with prospecting for new finds. The ranch has so many areas of exposed badlands I’ve yet to ever explore. So much to see.