Wall jackets

IMG_4566I have covered already making field jackets for palaeontological specimens and the unusual practice of making jackets inside boxes. This time out there’s a really odd one, making a jacket in the face of a cliff.

This was one I built with Jonah Choinere (a postgraduate student with Jim Clark working on theropods, seen below) and Musings regular Corwin Sullivan at Bayan Mandahu (the specimen is shown above before we began). The problem was that a fragile specimen was weathering out of a wall about seven feet off the ground and about 20 feet from the top of an outcrop. We could not therefore dig down to it easily (too far), not dig straight into the wall to take it out (it might break) so instead we decided to jacket it in situ.

IMG_4568We dug partially into the wall, covered the face with plaster to protect the specimen and then took it out. It’s a risky job given the fragility of the specimen and the soft sandstone matrix as its hard to dig behind (what would normally be under in a normal jacket) the face and either prevent the specimen falling apart, or the cliff coming down (not a huge issue here), or just reaching the damned thing as we were working above head height, or were balanced on loose boulders.

In the end it came out fine as you can see here, so hopefully it was worth the effort. We’ll find out in a few years once they clear out the jacket backlog and get around to preaparing it out of the plaster and rock.

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