07 April 2009

weekly update: all in a day's work.

Yes indeedy, as Ryan pointed out last week, we have finished excavating our very first deposit from Project 23:

Where 10B isn't!

10B is no more! And its big sister 10A is soon to follow:

10A as of 7 Apr 09

We're down to Project 21-and-a-half. The small patch of fossils from this deposit seems to have petered out. We can't be sure, but we're thinking the remaining few feet of dirt are largely -- if not entirely sterile. The boundaries between grids are left in place until they're completely exposed, and then mapped and photographed. This way, we can reconstruct the deposit's geology long after the deposit has been excavated.

And 5B looks much the same is it did last time I posted, only sans a level of plywood around the sides.

Deposit 5B as of 7 Apr 09

We're waiting to speak to one of the geologists who originally supervised the salvage before we begin digging.

Meanwhile, in Deposit 1....

Main fossil deposit as of 7 Apr 09

We're still plugging away at the main bone jumble in Box 1. We've measured out at least another 100 fossils from this area. Right now, however, we're at a bit of a standstill, stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak. Or rather, a scapula (shoulder blade) and an innominate (one half of a pelvis):

Close up of fossil deposit

Pleistocene pick-up sticks once again! From left to right: we can't get the first innominate out without removing the scapula immediately above it, but we can't get that scapula out because of the saber cat vertebra immediately above it. THAT's stuck under the middle scapula, which is in turn pinned in place by next-to-last scapula, which is, of course, covered by both a cat humerus (lion or saber cat, not sure though) and yet another scapula.

This is all very detailed, very slow work. However, on the other side of Box 1, we get the other end of the paleo-work perspective:

This is Grid D-3/Level 2 at 9am. Mouse over to see it at 5. Or, just scroll down:

All in a day's work: Grid D-3 at 5pm

D-3 is largely sterile, except for the occasional articulated millipede or bit of plant matter. This means we can power through it as quickly as our muscles allow. Spencer and I worked on D-3 all day, and chiseled out about 5 full buckets of matrix! Hard, hard work, as evidenced below:


6 blisters on my right hand! Badges of honor, all.


Spencer said...

As strange as it sounds, many scuffs, calluses and blisters later...I am still in the mood to move serious dirt.

As to your puzzle problem...I declare that we hear the words of the ancients, more particularly Archimedes. "Give me a Pleis-to-scene, and I shall move the Matrix."


buddy66 said...

Would this be a good T-shirt?:

WHAT happens in La Brea tar pits

STAYS in La Brea tar pits!

andie said...

pretty sure that already is one... check out the gift store at mcsweeneys.net

Used Equipment said...

With an Excavator will be better ?