Yesterday, the Field School students got to take part in an excavation, giving them the opportunity to hone recently acquired skills and learn new ones. A fossil elephant skeleton had been eroding out of deposits near South Turkwel, only 30 minutes from the TBI compound. Previous Field Schools have worked at extracting the bones, but there was still material on the ground, so we headed out bright and early and got to work!
The site where the skeleton was eroding out was protected by previous excavators by a layer of sand and large rocks. The first step was to remove the rocks, a true team effort.
Once the stones were cleared, it was easier to see what we were dealing with.
The students got to work clearing the surface of small rocks, pebbles, and sand, all of which was screened for bone fragments.
Once the initial cleaning was done, students began to work in teams both to expose the skeletal material and level the site’s surface.
With careful and diligent work, the bone became easier and easier to see. It was enormous!
The students took a little break to re-hydrate and have some cookies.
Break time was over and the students were back at it! Tons of dirt from around the bone needed screening, and many graciously volunteered for this dusty and tedious task.
Soon the bone was fully exposed and our expert team of student osteologists identified it as a femur.
Dr. Lewis, Francis, John, and Charles carefully loaded the very heavy femur into cushioned trays so we could transport them back to TBI-Turkwel for cleaning and processing. We headed back to campus for lunch feeling very satisfied after a morning of hard work!