Scouting trip prior to the 2009 excavation: Day 1

14 May 2009. Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia

0730. We took the whole day on the 13th driving from Beijing (left at 0700 and arrived at 1620). We had lunch in Taipusi Qi, as in 2007. We had dinner at Yinghe duck restaurant with Hongjiang and his colleagues from the cultural station.

After discussion with Li Qiang, we concluded that we will first visit a new locality south (~56 km) of Xilinhot, where Teilhard de Chardin may have visited in the 1920's.

1010. N 43º35' E 116º37' elevation 1197 m. "Gunaimiao". This was our first stop; we found fossil fragments weathered on the surface of red clay (alternating with layer of grey clay).

[The site of the Gunai Temple, at the center of the photo to the right of the farm houses; the Xilin River snakes through the valley where the French priest and geologist Teilhard de Chardin once visited]

1133. After driving further west, we came to a large exposure. We decided to spend some time prospecting here. The beds are alternating red and white, each being several meters in thickness. I did not find any fossils; the sediment is fine and silty.

We wrapped up our work around 1700, and headed for Dalai Nor. We paid 40 RMB each to get into the reserve. After a few photos by the lake, we went back to Xilinhot. On the way we had to stop in the village of Bayanxihe to get our Jitian SUV fixed. The coolant had drained out from a crack in one of the tubings.

[Li Qiang strolls down an abandoned deck on the northern shores of Dalai Nor, another site described by Teilhard de Chardin during his travels in Inner Mongolia]


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