Deb and I came back from three half-days at the Penn Dixie site with an ok mix of finds despite some weather and site challenges. This is usually an ideal time for us to get out and collect as Monday was our Thanksgiving, and my university has implemented a new Fall Reading Break. However, not everything went according to plan!
We arrived around 1 pm and left before sunset.
The site itself is vastly different from when we were on the big TFF dig back in April. After the Digging with the Experts, a lot of overburden seemed to have been dumped on areas we had been working. About 5 or more feet of the stuff, actually. Usually one will find a spot where a bench has been started, and that becomes the starting point for expansion. Not so much this time around as it more meant starting a bench from scratch at the right spot where the trilobite layer is. I found an entry point about a foot and half wide and we got to work moving about a foot or more of overburden. I then starting carving out slabs and placing them on the piles of debris we were scooping up (I'm glad I did as Day 2 will make clear).
There was a slightly higher proportion of Greenops bits at this spot as I suspected from the general area we had covered last year. Pictured here are some slabs. The first one with my rock hammer dangling was resting on a very smooth inclined layer that ran about 4-5 feet wide and about 3 feet deep. The bottom half of that slab is about a foot and the top tapered part is only about a few inches. The one I pulled out the next day was a real monster at about 2.5x larger and about 400 lbs, and it took a heck of a lot of energy and several tries to wrestle it into an upright position. My back was pretty sore after that! The other slab pictured has some promise as there are some trilobite parts showing.
Ultimately, I was in search of a trilobite party, and the stuff at the base of the inclined layer seemed to hold a bit of promise for a multi-plate.
Some of the slabs I was talking about. The second one has some trilobite promise.
These pieces above have trilobites. The one on the right is a little trilobite party!
Who is that peeking out? Judging by the broad and uniquely styled genal spine, it is none other than the very rare Bellacartwrightia whiteleyi in an awkward diagonal position through the bedding planes. This will take some preparation finesse!
This is how I left the bench at the end of Day 1. Looks promising, doesn't it?