Aerial Views

Since the bones were to be removed from the pit that Saturday and Sunday, a cherry picker was present to aid in documenting their positions before removal. Here are a couple of views from the overhead bucket of the cherry picker.

Aerial overview of excavation
This overview of the pit shows the catwalk and dams. The skeleton itself is mainly in the upper left quadrant of the image, with one tusk behind a dam below and to the left of the main skeleton. You can get some idea of the wet conditions; the green hose at the right center is perhaps 3 inches in diameter and is constantly pumping water out of the pit. Click on the image for a high-resolution version (973x875, about 1.2MB).

Detailed view of skeleton
Finally, a detailed view of the skeleton itself. This find is interesting because of the completeness (at least 90% at last report), preservation state, and articulation of the skeleton. Articulation means that many of the bones are still in their original positions relative to each other.

At the top left, the pelvis is visible. At the bottom center of the image, several vertebrae are still articulated, as are several just to the right of top center. An array of ribs is visible between these two groups. At almost the exact center of the image, the lower jaw is visible, with most teeth intact. The skull, which was in good condition, has already been removed from the pit. To the right of the jaw, among the ribs, a hole in the mud is visible; this is actually a spring, spewing water into the pit continously. Click on the image for a high-resolution version (1258x1032, about 1.4MB).

At the lower right is an intact tusk behind a plywood dam and under a protective coating of mud. A major challenge is to allow this tusk to dry without having it shatter into fragments. In fact, the whole skeleton was periodically re-wetted with a garden hose to keep it from drying in an uncontrolled fashion.

Back to main Mastodon Dig page

Stephen H. Westin <>
Last modified: Mon Oct 23 11:41:33 Eastern Daylight Time 2000