Wednesday, 8/11

My time for this field season is rapidly coming to a close. Been reaching out to people, planning for things at home, and starting to wind down. And …. still have a couple of days left to be and enjoy my surrounds here in Montana as we wrap up for this year.

Evening sun setting over the camp.
Sun bursting through

Worked at the Clarence dig site today; first time back here for quite a few days now. The weather was like good ol’ normal fir this time of year for this area. Sun shine, warm (hot), constant breezes, comfortable with blue skies, white puffy clouds and very little haze/smoke today. A friend helped me rip into the sidewalls of this established dig site looking for any sign of more bone here. There was nothing visible left. Don found what looked/seemed like some bone right where he (correctly) guessed there might be some. I, on the other hand, came up virtually empty handed. Just found a couple of bone scraps, some small turtle shell fragments and a single little fish (gar) scale.

Looks like Don found two vertebrae that are compressed up next to each other.

Don contemplating his next move as he uncovers the 2 vertebrae

He carefully found the outside edges of this complete set of boney protuberances and dug around them until the bones were up in the air a bit on a pedestal of rock – ready to be plaster field jacketed.

Two vertebrae
Wrapped in foil to keep plaster off raw bones

And here’s the finished field jacket containing these two vertebrae –

Jacketed

This site has gotten larger this season as we’ve searched for any remaining bones from Clarence. It seems each time we tear into the walls at the outside perimeter of the site we find more – a great “problem” to have.

The area of exploration keeps expanding

After we “flipped” the new plaster jacket full of bones we saw what appeared to be more under it. It was getting to the end of our day but priorities shift when new bones are found. I cleared away some surrounding matrix to try to ID what this new piece may be but the pieces seems quite small and fragile so we called it for the day and will need to start tomorrow by removing the overburden above these bones – which is growing taller as we move toward the east; toward a wall of gumbo about 14’ above the bone layer we’re in. Tomorrow we’ll “only” need to pick axe and shovel away an area about 4 foot tall by 18 inches deep by about 2 feet wide – no problem! Tomorrow will be a new day with renewed energy!