A foray to the site August 14-15 netted 16 more segments of bone through the heroic efforts of 20 volunteers. Most of the elements appear to be portions of juvenile ribs. Positive assignment to the “toddler” or “baby” awaits cleaning and a closer look. A couple of unidentified pieces are intriguing, but time for cleaning and study was curtailed by the storms that moved through the region all day.
Holmes and I were accompanied on the trip out by Meghann Mahoney, UI Museum of Natural History and Jan Ailes, Education Facilitator, Indian Creek Nature Center, Cedar Rapids. We were joined in preparing the site for Saturday’s dig by our long-time Bobcat operator Will Mott, Council Bluffs, Bill Wiechman from the Greater Shenadoah Historical Society, and Mary Brenzel the co-PI’s sister, who drove up from Fayetteville, Arkansas to help.
14 intrepid volunteers joined the prep crew on Saturday, enduring intermittent rain and extremely mucky working conditions. Working until nightfall, they moved a mountain of clay and cleared an area of approximately 400 sq. ft. The bones were deposited on an undulating surface, which necessitates carefully shoveling through at least a foot of the dense clay matrix in their pursuit.
As Holmes wrote in his letter to volunteers last week, digging at the site is rapidly approaching its conclusion. It has taken 6 years, but we have now cleared a wide area surrounding the main deposit and only have a couple of narrow bands immediately under the berm left to excavate. We hope to take advantage of the seasonably low water levels and return to the site in a couple of weeks. Until we can discover the location of the Paramylodon that we know is nearby, it looks like we have reached the final act of the excavation phase of the project.
Thanks to the Des Moines area Central Iowa Mineral Society for organizing a large contingent of members for the dig. As ever, thanks also to the Iowa Archaeological Society, the Shenadoah-area community, Evans Rental, Glenwood, IA, which supplied the Bobcat and Will Mott, the Rembrandt of Bobcat operators. . . . Dave
Jan Ailes, Pam Belknap, Mary Brenzel, Harold and Kandyce Decuir, Charles Krauth, Meghann Mahoney, Lee McNair, Dennis Miller, Will Mott, Ed Peterson, Monica and Mica Post, Don Raker, Chuck Safris, Randy, Cheryl and Ryan Shanks, Marie Tiemann, Bill Wiechman, Holmes Semken, David Brenzel.