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Excavation Journal

June 8, 2001: Those Vampire Gnats

Dr. David Gillette of the Museum of Northern Arizona sent in this update Friday:

Hi everybody! We are back in Flagstaff , but we plan to return to the hadrosaur site Monday. We will probably arrive on site around noon. We are close to being ready to haul the blocks away. We have four large blocks, three that weigh maybe 200 pounds each, one perhaps 400 pounds now but should be trimmed to half that weight when we resume work Monday.

There are no more bones exposed. Everything is in plaster and burlap jackets. Only one jacket is still in the quarry. We plan to turn that one over on Monday, then chisel away excess rock to make it lighter. I expect to have the blocks loaded up and hauled away by Wednesday June 13th.

There is one problem. We are trying to avoid going through the horizon layer, where we think the skin impressions came from, in hopes of finding more during preparation in the laboratory. That makes these blocks bigger than we initially planned, and therefore more troublesome to move from the quarry to the jeep trail to load into our trailer. We might have to use rigging with straps, ropes, and a hand crank to pull the larger ones on a skid made of the plywood sheet still on site, so it could be a slow process.

Temperatures now are in the low 90's, blood-and-meat-eating vampire gnats are out in force, but as of yesterday were so full of my tender flesh that they were not bothersome when I left. They will be famished by Monday. It is advised to wear clothing to cover exposed flesh, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants. (Although they also swarm around nose and ears). Repellant is also a good idea.. I look forward to getting this one wrapped up. Stay tuned.


 
Last updated: 10-23-2009