Thursday

Inner Mongolia project takes a hit, moves forward

9 September 2010. Xiaotangshan, rurtal Beijing, China

In early September a small team of technicians visited the Baogeda Ula quarry site that Jack and the crew worked on in 2009, to attempt to extract a large field jacket left there (dubbed "The Southern Block"). What the crew found was an empty hole with fragments of what's left over of the jacket.

After consultation with the local police, the Land Management office, and the local rancher, we concluded that the jacket was destroyed by tomb raiders in Abaga. Many small operations of illegal excavation plague the Inner Mongolian grasslands which boasts thousands of ancient Mongolian burial sites. The cultural bureau has no adequate resources to protect and manage all of them. Unfortunately, our site was targeted by locals who do not differentiate between burial sites and fossil sites.

With the largest chunk of bonebed from our 2009 excavation destroyed, we (those in Beijing) turned our attention to the smaller field jacket (dubbed "The Northern Block") which was transported to the rural field station of the IVPP in Xiaotangshan at the end of the field seasons last year.

[a cocoon hangs quietly outside the warehouse which houses field jackets made by IVPP field teams from all over China]

Dr. Qiang Li and Jack spent the day opening up the Northern Block with help from technicians at the field station, and then immediately began preparation on the jacket. So far, two scapulae and two radii have been uncovered, in addition to rib and vertebral fragments that were exposed during excavation.

[Xiaotangshan technician Ding saws open the top of IM0902 "The Northern Block"]

An in-house technician will be assigned to the preparation of the jacket with Li and Jack's supervision, to collect data on the arrangement and preservation of fossil bones while preparation proceeds for the next few months.

[the surface of the jacket after first day's preparation]


1 comment:

Spencer said...

Ouch, that hurts. :-/