Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hold your breath and flip

When you find a bone in the quarry you become the "protector" of that bone, taking every caution and even tuck it under a tarp every night. Each hour in the quarry, you get closer and closer to that dreaded moment when you actually have to flip the top of the field jacket. When you flip, the bone and the matrix below should come out as one unit. Even if you have done everything right, there is always the fear that the actually flipping of the bone will go horribly wrong. It is like flipping a bundt cake onto a plate. You cross you fingers, take a deep breath and hope you greased the pan well enough.

On Friday, I flipped a beautiful humerus that I had been fretting over. The matrix stayed in the ground exposing the perfect bone. It was a proud milestone.

Later that day, a vertebra was not so lucky. When you trench, you guess how far the bone goes into the ground. This trench wasn't deep enough and after the flip, half was in the jacket and half was still in the ground. When this happens you fly into surgeon mode armed with glue and a chisel. We eventually got out the remainder and enclosed it in toilet paper, aluminum foil and then plaster. It will be pieced back together in the lab.

We still have a few more jackets to go before we can officially close up the site for the season and head back to Cincinnati Museum Center.

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