Thursday, July 20

Jeff and I up in the morning and had a nice breakfast then headed out to the main dig site. We stopped on the way and prospected for new finds for a bit. Got up to the dig and since thee was little breeze and bright blue skies we elected to set up the shade canopy. It had been either too breezy or we were remove mass quantities of rock so a canopy would have been in the way. It’s time now for the more delicate work of carefully exposing each bone enough so we can find the contours of the outside edges so it may be wrapped in the burlap soaked plaster field jacket to be able to remove each bone from the dig. once canopy was up I clearly wasn’t quite ready to dig in; in fact I seemed to be hesitating to get started on this part of the process. I was ready for lunch or other diversions to kind of put off starting! Jeff gently called me on this behavior and after some food and drink we both dug in.

Hobo camp erected for 2023 dig! Hail damage to the tarp or Steve cut holes to allow air flow?

And as these things typically go, once I got started I got into it. So much so that 7:30pm rolled along and I didn’t want to stop. Jeff and I worked all afternoon on finding small pieces and deciding what part they go to or working on rock removal where it is absolutely fused next to the bones. This being needed so we can find where each bone starts ands stops so we can define the edges and put the field jackets around each one. It’s either that or we jacket multiple bones all in one larger jacket. Each has pros and cons. Generally best to take each one individually but sometimes because of how they are laying all over and under each other they must come as a mass of bones in one bigger “block.”

Removing the rock cover as carefully as possible to not damage the fossil below and add a light glue to the newly exposed bone surface.

Here are a few of the scattered bones Jeff worked on today –

Kind of random bone fragment Jeff made sure was defined and not attached to other pieces before he removed it.
Hard to see but a lot of bone on the surface here; it’s Jeff’s problem now to figure it out and collect it carefully.
Looks to be a random fragment of rib bone from the triceratops. It may continue back into the surrounding matrix and be longer than I realize?

We gathered up tools, took down the canopy, covered up the bones with a tarp and enjoyed a “field bath” of cool water over hands and face direct from the cooler drain then started the fully half hour slow drive back to camp from this dig site. It’s deep inside the ranch and takes a while to get back to when top speed on the trail back is about 7mph!

View from the truck on the way back to camp as sun is getting lower in the western sky behind me.
Jeff closing the last gate for the day as we passed through.