Dinosaurs under the big sky

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Contents: one double-sided laminated sheet with 18 images

This photo series goes through the steps necessary to remove a fossil from the ground and prepare it for transport back to the museum. From the upper left corner moving across to the right:

  1. A fossil is discovered and photographed with scale bar before excavation

  2. Members of the field crew survey the site to measure dimensions

  3. The site is gridded and mapped before excavation

  4. The rock around the fossil is removed, but some is left behind to protect the fossil

  5. The rock around the fossil is excavated into a pedestal shape

  6. The fossil and matrix (rock) are covered with wet paper towels to prevent the plaster jacket from sticking to the fossil

  7. As an additional barrier, the fossil is then sometimes covered with foil to keep the plaster from soaking through

  8. Strips of burlap or a similar material are soaked in water

  9. The strips are then saturated with plaster

  10. Additional plaster is mixed

  11. Plaster infused burlap is wrapped around fossil

  12. Additional plaster is smoothed onto the surface to strengthen and smooth the jacket for transport

  13. Excavation of the base of the pedestal continues

  14. The fossil is removed and flipped over

  15. Jagged edge of jacket is trimmed and extra matrix is smoothed

  16. Jagged edge of jacket is trimmed

  17. Data about fossil placed in plastic bag inside jacket

  18. Bottom of jacket closed with burlap and plaster

Field Jacket

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Contents: one plaster jacket with lid

This is an example of an actual plaster jacket used to protect a fossil as it is transported from the excavation site to the museum. The jackets are made of burlap strips and plaster. Each jacket is carefully labeled as to the site location and date of the find. Inside the jacket, the fossil is still surrounded by matrix (rock) that will be cleaned off by preparators once the fossil reaches the museum and the jacket is opened with a cast cutter (hand held saw). The fossil and matrix inside this jacket have been removed.

Real Bone with Replica Piece

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