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#285025 - 07/18/17 05:45 AM Hot Springs Mammoth Site
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2155
Loc: Great Plains
Well, my bi-annual road trip & vacation is off to a great start! grin My brother and I met some family members at Sheridan Lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota to visit and we camped overnight. In the morning we pressed on to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. Wow! It's amazing and unlike anything I've ever seen. It's the remains of a prehistoric sinkhole trap that's been excavated for 40 years; the remarkable thing is that they built a building over the dig and turned it into a working/'living' museum! Through the week you can watch the archeological work as it's being performed. I arrived on a Sunday so the crews weren't digging but a few students were giving tours of the facilities. Our guide Katie was charming and funny and here enthusiasm was infectious.

Best of all I had the chance to meet ETS's very own Hikermor! grin He's kind of a big shot there in fact. It will come as no surprise to you all that he's a wonderful fellow! Sadly we only had an hour and a half to visit but it was terrific. Hikermor, I hope you have another dozen summers yet to dig. I look forward to coming back next year, and maybe we can take our Moraknivs out to explore the Hills.

I'm posting this from Helena, Montana. Tomorrow we're off to Missoula to meet some friends out there,probably do some shooting and camp for a couple days.
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“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#285029 - 07/18/17 11:18 AM Re: Hot Springs Mammoth Site [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6583
Loc: southern Cal
Thank you very much, Phaedrus. I really enjoyed meeting you and I am looking forward to next year.

The mammoth Site really is an amazing place. Lots of new stuff, even after all these years of digging....
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#285030 - 07/18/17 11:56 AM Re: Hot Springs Mammoth Site [Re: Phaedrus]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1347
when you said Mammoth and Hot Springs ...

i thought you were sitting in a natural hot tub, mineral water, at Mammoth, California. Hahahaha!!

But good luck with the fossil digging.
I am guessing that you can't keep any souvenirs. If i found the teeth from a saber tooth tiger, i would be tempted to put them in my pockets ;-)

Pete

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#285032 - 07/18/17 06:17 PM Re: Hot Springs Mammoth Site [Re: Pete]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2018
Loc: Colorado
We stopped at that Mammoth Site on a family trip up to Rapid City from Denver. It was a really neat place. I remember my wife saying, "I want to come back and work here some day!" That was about, oh, about twenty years ago. I guess the hole might be a little deeper by now. We're getting very close to retirement, so maybe her wish will come to pass someday soon. Although, I don't know if they let Nurse Practitioners and Electrical Engineers dig there (that's what we are). Somehow, I think they might prefer someone more, uhm, qualified. Maybe we could be tour guides or something. But maybe we can just visit again since our fields of expertise don't really match an archaeological dig. I do remember the Mammoth Site being one of the highlights of that trip.

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#285036 - 07/19/17 02:48 AM Re: Hot Springs Mammoth Site [Re: haertig]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6583
Loc: southern Cal
Right away, let me plainly state that I am presently a paid employee of The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD. I have been working during the summer dig seasons for the last seventeen years, after retiring from the NPS. Obviously, I have a bias.

Our volunteers come from all over, with varying amounts of experience, hardly any of which is paleontological or archaeological. We train people on site, taking care to put beginners in relatively easy situations. The only way you can learn to dig is to dig. Motivation and careful guidance will develop proficiency, which is a never ending process (I am still learning, although my first dig was sixty-one years ago).

The main prerequisites are an ability to observe, ask pertinent questions, to focus on the problem at hand, and not be in a rush. I suppose there is a certain zen to the job.

The learning environment has its pluses. One digs within an air conditioned building, with no weather concerns - no rain, no hot sun, etc.

The learning pays off. Several prominent paleontologists have either started, or worked at, the site during their studies. I am particularly proud of one young lady who worked under my supervision in 2003. I understand she is on track to receive her PhD this December (just shows one can overcome bad initial training!)

Today we finished removing a large skull, weighing an estimated 800 pounds from the bone bed, a project which took most of the two month dig season. I was the rigger for the project and fortunately my handiwork held together, so I just came home from celebrating at the local watering place.

I would say that with a background in medicine and EE, both of you are very good prospects. Please check out the Mammoth Site website and look over the "Excavation and Preservation Program." I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

When I first came to the Mammoth Site. my attitude was, "They probably aren't too bad, but they won't be as good as the NPS". Now I feel that in nearly all aspects the Mammoth Site is far ahead of what they might have been as yet another NPS area. Operating as a non-profit 501(c)3, the site has several advantages.

I could go on, but you can probably tell I really like the place and the people who run it......


Edited by hikermor (07/19/17 02:50 AM)
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#285047 - 07/20/17 07:16 AM Re: Hot Springs Mammoth Site [Re: Phaedrus]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2155
Loc: Great Plains
It would be amazing to work at the dig!

I went to meet a friend in Missoula and we wasted a bunch of ammo. Tonight I'm in Coeur D'Alene, ID- actually it's a hotel in Post Falls but close enough. Tomorrow I'm heading back to do something camping in the Arlene region on Montana's Flathead Reservation. I dropped my shotgun off at a gunsmith in Missoula; the magazine spring was shot and it wouldn't feed the fifth round. No one wants to camp in grizzly country with a balky shottie! eek

I'm having a blast with about five more days to go (give or take ).
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#285091 - 07/24/17 12:37 AM Re: Hot Springs Mammoth Site [Re: Phaedrus]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2155
Loc: Great Plains
At Yellowstone nkw...
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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