May 10, 2001: Hard Labor
Dr. David Gillette, paleontologist from the Museum of Northern Arizona and the leader of this excavation, called in from the field with another update. He reports that the excavation is going much slower than expected. He now thinks it will probably take three - four weeks to finish it. He and Merle are using a heavy sledgehammer and chisel to try to get through the very hard rock.
Merle Graffam uses a hammer and chisel to break through the hard rock.
PHOTOS BY KELLY RIGBY
Notice the yellow container used to mix the plaster. Foam pads also help ease aching bones (of the paleontologists, not the dinosaur!) Remember, these two will be spending at least a month on the hard surface of the rock!
This is what we call "hard labor." The rock is sandstone, which tends to get harder at greater depths. Weathering and other disturbances at the surface tends to loosen, or weaken, the rock. As one digs down into the ground, the undisturbed sandstone is tougher, making excavations more difficult. We'll be posting more pictures as soon as we get them, so keep checking back, and thanks for reading!