Dinosaur Excavation and Taphonomic Research Project

2023 Expedition

Depart from SWAU: Thursday morning, June 1

Arrive at the Hanson Research Station: Friday morning, June 2

Excavation and classes begin: Monday, June 5

Last day to dig: Tuesday, June 27

Depart from the Hanson Research Station: Thursday morning, June 29

Arrive back in Keene: Friday morning, June 30

Come dig with us!

Only 84 days until the adventure begins!

Originally, in 1842, the word dinosaur was coined by Richard Owen to mean "fearfully great, a lizard." Since then the term has typically been taken to mean "terrible lizard." However, the more we study the bones, the more we realize that these were truly amazing and wonderful and "fearfully great" creatures.

For a number of years, Southwestern Adventist University has been conducting a dinosaur excavation research project in the Lance Formation of eastern Wyoming.

We are quarrying in an extremely rich bone bed finding the remains of a number of upper Cretaceous dinosaurs.  The project provides exciting experience in the quarrying techniques and the joy of discovery for everyone that participates.

The primary research purpose is a taphonomic study of the deposit.  Taphonomy is that aspect of paleontology that is concerned with how the remains became fossilized; this is, how the creatures died and their bones became part of the fossil record.  In short, we wish to learn how this assemblage of remains came about.

In order to reach this primary taphonomic research purpose it is essential to locate, carefully record the exact location, and identify each bone that is found, then to excavate and stabilize each for transport to the lab for additional preservation and study.  A number of exciting techniques that have not been utilized before or in combination make this project a state-of-the-art research effort:

The Dinosaur Project optionally offers college credit hours to students who may earn four semester hours of college lab science credit by registering for the corresponding class.  Teachers may earn Professional Development credits.

We welcome all interested participants:  those with paleontology experience; those without any excavation experience; students; teachers; all humans!