Friday, November 6, 2009

Watusi Removal 101

It was unknown to us on this day whether it would be the last day of the dig or not. We had exposed a large amount of bone but with the weather getting colder and the lack of a mostly complete skeleton there was a measure of uncertainty as to whether this day would be our most productive.

The moment Andre loaded the watusi skull into his trunk we knew this was the day.


An 80% complete watusi skeleton was removed from the ground in about 90 minutes of arduous muddy work, fighting the elements, a rising water table and our sense of smell.

We were separated into groups, tagging and bagging the various bones was Delphine, Emma and Ross, who worked out a very quick system keeping up with those working in the pit.

In the first pit there was Colin and Josephene, who were rummaging around what was under the skull; brain matter, ribs and small bones. In the second pit there was Sean frantically exposing the long bones that we were only beginning to see the week prior.

Amidst this chaos in the pit, Brittni and Elizabeth were gathering points on the total station while Chris was directing traffic and recording speedily in the logbook, making sure the points were properly labelled and relaying the information back to the tagging team for proper identification and eventually mapping.


It was likely the first day that the entire group was working in tandem, using all the skills we were taught in the weeks prior to culminate into one mass removal in a very short period of time. At the end we were happy that the skeleton was removed, but upset that we wouldn’t be back.

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