Tuesday, October 23, 2007


As the clouds filled the sky and the rain (didn't actually) began to fall, the Archaeologists kept excavating, completely unaware of the terrors that lie beneath the soil...

Apparently in the spirit of upcoming halloween (and every terrible teen slasher film that ever existed) our watusi excavation decided to get a whole lot spookier last friday.

The decision was made that the elephant pit would not be worked on last friday because it was too hot and humid of a day, and putting someone in a pit with a decomposing elephant in the sweltering heat may have raised a few eyebrows. It did get cloudy as we arrived, but the decision was made and considering our small numbers, the order of the day was to continue the excavation of the watusi and begin mapping finds in the Watusi pit.

Upon our arrival at the site the Watusi pit was again full up with water. After bailing it out we finally got down to excavating our good friend. In essence the entire front half of the Watusi has been excavated, and it seems to be almost completely articulated. The right ride of his head was uncovered, showing the back of the maxilla and mandible, complete with a nice grin of teeth. The Watusi's other horn is starting to show as well, but it seems to be surrounded with that black decomposing fat soil we've all grown to love and cherish. The neck vertebrae leading back the pectoral girdle was also uncovered. If you look at the picture posted in the week 5 breaking news section of the blog you can see that the Watusi's neck is broken, how we don't know, but it is shown very clearly in the picture, where it's rib cage and legs are pointing west (up in the picture) and it's head is pointing east (down in the picture).

The protruding ribs from the prior week were further excavated. They turned out to be the distal ends of the thoracic vertebrae. The animal's left scapula, which was articulated to the humerus, was uncovered, as well as sections of the rib cage. At the end of the day we had a nice clean front half of a Watusi sitting in front of us. Very cool, and much scarier looking dead than alive.

This leads to a big question, where's the back half of the Watusi? Team tiny's test pit (M4) is only about a metre, maybe less, south of the Watusi pit, which seems to be the direction the rear end of the Watusi should be sitting! There could be several explanations, some more credible than others. We could be dealing with half a watusi, which is quite unlikely, though incinerating dead animals is quite expensive...but that crazy/hilarious scenario is highly improbable. The most likely explanation is that team tiny's pit missed Watusi butt by only a few inches. We began to expand the pit southward (or Watusi's rearward) but didn't get down to the level of the Watusi, that will be one of the Elephant Team's jobs next time.

We also found what seems to be a pelvis and some leg bones in the North Western section of the pit, right by (sort of on top of) the Watusi's head. We aren't sure how the new bones and the Watusi bones are related, but the probability that this particular Watusi had a whole leg growing out of it's forehead is slim to none, so we can hopefully assume that these bones weren't physically part of it.

As far as mapping goes a datum was placed by the North Eastern corner of the pit and mapping of Watusi pit finds began, with depth, distance from South side (North measurements), and distance from West side (East measurements) being taken on several finds. These mapped finds include the highest points of the thoracic vertebrae/scapula/rib area of the pit.

At the end of the day we escaped the site, just as the torrential downpour began. Pretty lucky.

I guess that's all for now, sorry for the lack of pictures. I had taken some, but they were on my computer, which decided to crash today, so if I can retrieve them I'll post them.

Cheers, The Rhino Squad

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