The Handling of Bones

It is critical that care be taken in handling these very fragile fossils.

It is vital that each fossil be assigned an appropriate HRS Field Number and to stay identified with this number.

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

Ezekiel 37:1-3

Field labels and cards

Every specimen that is located is to be assigned a permanent HRS number. A pre-printed label card will be distributed by the Quarry Leader as a specimen is found. As each number is assigned, a record is made in a master log. This is a vital procedure to ensure that fossils do not become "lost." The number on the cards is the permanent HRS number to be associated with that particular item.

The card has blanks on it to record the name of the excavator, the date, and a tentative identification of the fossil. In addition, the name on the Field Note Book (if the information is being recorded in a Field Note Book that is not the excavator's) and the page in that Note Book that contains the written description of the find.

The card should be placed in the ground next to the fossil when it is photographed so that the identification of every specimen is clearly recorded.

Use a field card and number only for the quarry that it is issued for.

Labeling of exposed bones

Generally, an excavator keeps in his or her mind details of the area being excavated. It may be a memory that the awl or tool has hit something hard at some particular spot suggestive of a fossil and indicating the need for careful work. However, this may have occurred in the process of excavating something else and careful exploration must wait. The spot should be marked with a flag or a tool stuck in the matrix nearby so that it is not forgotten. Ideally, such events would be described in the Field Note Book; however, unless there is something to mark the site, it is easily forgotten. This is especially true if the excavator leaves.

As soon as a specimen is identified to be recorded, a field number is to be assigned.

It is important that you keep your Field Note Book up to date such in the event someone else must continue the work in that grid, there is sufficient information that the next person can proceed effectively.

All exposed bones should be noted. If the bone is large enough, then apply a field label sticker directly to it while it is still in the ground and document it. Include a sketch of the quarry grid with approximate locations.

Care must be taken so that the field number reference to the specimen is never lost!

Small bones, bone fragments, teeth

Intermediate sized bones

It is not just the size of the bone that makes it intermediate. This is a bone that large enough that it may require special handling but not so large or fragile that it requires casting.

Ask the Quarry Leader as to the best way to proceed.

Large or fragile bones