Thursday, October 6, 2011

There's Magic in the air!

When we started out from McGill in the field van last Friday we had no idea what we were in store for that day. We had heard the news that Group A (AKA: Team Danger) had discovered what was most likely a bone belonging to Magic at the bottom of one of their test pits and we were excited to start uncovering it. While we sat in the van and listened to music and played a few friendly games of Werewolves to pass the time we wondered what we might find that day; after our last trip during which we found a grand total of two little vertebrae I'm sure we all would have been happy with anything. We found more than just anything.

When we first arrived we weren't sure what to expect at the location, it had rained the previous night and there were some ominous looking clouds in the distance on our drive over. The ground was wet and muddy but not nearly as bad as our worst fears and the sun even came out and was shining brightly when we first arrived. Better yet, while there were mosquitoes around, their numbers were nowhere near the biblical level that Group A had promised they would be.

We started out by cording off a rectangular area encompassing Group A's test pit that had hit bone and digging out the first layer of the trench with shovels. The ground was extremely muddy and not very far down the pit began to fill with water. Eventually Thomas uncovered something that looked like bone and Colin told us all to switch to using trowels. This is the point where we discovered why field clothes STAY field clothes. We painstakingly scraped away the mud and clay while the pit slowly filled with water (Colin and Elise began to bail out the water constantly at this point). Slowly but surely more and more bone was uncovered. What appeared to be a second piece of bone near the first also appeared. As we slowly dug away the dirt we realized it wasn't a second bone, it was connected to the first. At this point we began to realize how big the find was, we kept uncovering it but there was just more and more bone.

Taking a break we all stood back and looked at the find and tried to figure out just what it was. Joking suggestions ranging from a T-Rex to Bigfoot to a Dragon were made but we all knew that the bone had to belong to an elephant. The question was, which bone was it? "It's a pelvis" was the first suggestion, to which there were murmurs of agreement, until Colin said something which caused everyone's ears to perk up in excitement. "I think it's the skull." From then on we all worked hurriedly, bailing and digging as carefully and quickly as we could. At the end of the day we had uncovered what must be a good portion of the bone but much of it still laid buried. Colin took a picture (which I would post here except I'm having trouble accessing his album) of the bone in the pit and we decided to pack it up and head home. The ominous clouds had returned and the mosquitoes had finally caught our scent and were beginning to swarm. Group B left the site exhausted, muddy, missing about a litre of blood combined and completely satisfied (maybe a little more so after a coffee from the rest stop and a few friendly games of Werewolves during the ride home).

Group A, you have some awesome digging ahead of you!

Here are some pictures of elephant skulls from google image search to help you visualize what you're looking at when you're there (I can guarantee after seeing these photos that it is indeed the skull that we found).

Elephant Skull

(apparently this guy's name is Tony, I just included it to demonstrate the size that these things can be!)

P.S. Ashley is always the werewolf.

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