Friday, 8/13

It is so nice to have the Montana I know & love back! Cool temperature last night (@50 degrees), clear night skies, clear day with little to no haze or smoke today and blue skies & barely a cloud in the sky. Could not be any better weather for fossil prospecting & excavation.

Evening sky as we called it a day at the dig site

Went out to the Clarence dig for the whole day today. Stayed on site until almost 8pm – that means one of two things; either I got my truck stuck somewhere, somehow, OR … we found a series of new bones today and I absolutely just didn’t want to quit! It was the latter.

Found, pedastaled, installed field jackets on and carried out to the truck, 2 vertebrae oddly “smushed” together (or it could be a turtle), 2 pristine smaller (relative term) vertebrae and a long bone that I’m guessing is a scapula (shoulder blade). Correction, we didn’t jacket the scapula; it’s still in the ground. I’ll either gather it tomorrow (my last day in the field) or carefully rebury it, cover it with a tarp, bury that under rock & soil and carefully place it on the paper fossil map we’ve steadily been adding to this year. We are up to about 80 separate bones or bone fragments so far from this dig that seem to all be from one specimen.

The dig site is getting bigger and deeper as we move east following where the bones are leading us and toward the 14’ high wall we may have to tear into?
Makeshift shade provided by canopy that’s about at the end of its useful life. One season in the field is about all the cover and thin aluminum frame can handle. (It flew up and over the 14 foot high hill, to the left in this photo, 3 times on this day!)

Here are a few photos of the bones we worked on today –

Vertebrea in almost pristine condition; all parts poking out present & accounted for.
Another vertebrae, this one laying on top of a long bone that’s about 8” wide at left in photo and about 32” long – possible scapula? (Shoulder blade).
Not a great photo, but trying to show the scapula (?) with the vertebrae and overburden souls removed from on top of it.

Headed back to camp this evening for a nice meal after getting cleaned up. Starting to go over in my thoughts a list of chores to do to get ready to move out Sunday morning for home, to Indiana.