Updates from the Field~2021 Season with Ancient Odysseys

Every season on every archaeology and paleontology dig around the world, scientists, volunteers and students work hard to excavate, understand and learn about what has been newly unearthed. This year was no different, even though COVID-19 put a damper on national and international travel.


We are pleased to share updates from three dig sites in completely different parts of the world that are featured on Ancient Odysseys. If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of the discovery efforts on one of these digs next season, please stay tuned for 2022 field work updates on www.ancientodysseys.com.


Tel Burna, Israel


Tel Burna, an archaeological site located about 15 miles from Jerusalem had their annual fieldwork season from June 13 to July 9 this year. Due to the pandemic, their season was short, yet fruitful, with excavation work headed by Itzhak Shai and powered by a small, local group of volunteers and students from Ariel University.


Tel Burna is believed to be the site of biblical Libhan in Judea. This season, the team focused on continuing to excavate 10th and 9th century BCE fortification walls, massive gates and unusually large casement walls. It is thought that perhaps this site was strategically located in proximity of other important towns and that the fortification was purposefully destroyed for reasons still unknown.


In addition to excavating more of the important walls and features o the site, a few important artifacts were also unearthed. Smashed vessels, further evidence of the layer of destruction from 1000 CE were found. The team also excavated a row of weights traditionally used on warp-weighted looms in the 8th century BCE in the southern Levant. Among other interesting finds this season was a very nice head of an Iron II horse figurine, shown here.


Remember, if you are interested in participating in the 2022 excavation at Tel Burna in Israel, we’ll be posting dates and details when we have more information.


 

Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Queensland, Australia


The Australian Age of Dinosaur had an incredibly productive season with the discovery of 68 fossil specimens of a 95 million year old subadult sauropod. The site, excavated by six participants turned up 20 caudal or tail vertebrae (shown here), five partial ribs, a few partial pelvic bones, one partial limb bone and a metatarsal (foot bone). Not a bad haul for a week in the field (to say the least)!


In addition, over the last three months, 79 volunteers in the Prep-a-Dino program have been working in the museum’s fossil prep lab cleaning and preparing the bones of another subadult sauropod. The material includes ribs, dorsal vertebrae, two sternal plates, a sacral vertebrae and pelvic girdle. With the help of the volunteers, the lab team expects the work on this dinosaur to be ready for scientific research by the end of 2021.


For those who are in the country, there is still availability to participate on the Australian Age of Dinosaur’s 1-day and 5-day Prep-a-Dino experiences through the end of October.


For now, Australia’s borders are still closed, but there is an expectation that the restrictions will lift far ahead of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs’ 2022 season. We’ll release dates and details of next year’s dig when we have more information.


In the meantime, if you’d like to donate to the work being done at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, click on the donation link.


 

Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, Montana


A late-season find on private property turned into an exciting end to this year’s field season for the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in central Montana. A jumble of bones from what could be a new species of sauropod were excavated, including metacarpals and either a partial femur or humerus. Once the fossils are properly prepped and cleaned, the bones will be definitively identified.


It should be noted that the fossils from the Morrison Formation are among the oldest dinosaur fossils in Montana at about 150 million years old. But, for the last 20 years or so, many of these important specimens have been collected and taken out of state. In working with the landowner to ensure the fossils are properly excavated, paleontologist Cary Woodruff and the Great Plains Museum have the opportunity to study these important fossils, their context and the history behind them. And, best of all, they’ll be housed at the museum itself in Malta, Montana. Watch local coverage about this discovery on Montana Right Now which includes interviews with the landowner, and Great Plains Museum Director of Paleontology, Cary Woodruff.

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