With the 46 year-old plaster removed the only real damage visible is the extreme drying of the entire block. The bone is substantially softer than the surrounding matrix and has suffered from shrinkage of the sediment. The block is regularly misted with distilled water and a humidifier runs almost constantly in the WeatherPort. As may be seen in the above photo, the bones were partially excavated prior to jacketing and at least one was removed prior to closing the block as evinced by a negative imprint in the sediment. Also visible in the block are crumbles of sediment, bone, and plaster which will need to be removed. There is evidence, especially in low areas that some substance, probably white glue was applied to the block.
The block was divided into quarters for excavation. The near side will be removed while the far side will be preserved, revealing a profile of the bone-bed.
Heather Davis (above) is removing crumbled sediment and unassociated bone fragments from one quadrant while sealing and preserving the in situ bone.
There are essentially two interconnected projects happening with the block. The Site Archaeologist and assistants are working to maintain the integrity of the bone and associated artifacts while the Advanced Geoarchaeology class maps and excavates half the block and studies the sediments in order to gather geologic and environmental data.
George Crawford re-fitting and treating exposed bone with Heather Davis. Photo by Garrett Kubik.