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Category Archives: Tusk

11/19/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 23)

Did someone say, MAMMOTH!?  Oh wait, that’s just me…ok, so maybe YOU too.  🙂

Even though I tend to work for HOURS on end in the lab, being all science-ee, I know that my successes are only in leaps & bounds from my perspective.  Sure, I know you’d hope as an archaeologist, I’d dig up a mammoth, find a lost city and discover the fountain of youth all in one week.  Sounds awesome to me too.  But in my REALISTIC life, things move a little slower…okay, so A LOT slower.  But you’re here to see updates & that’s what I’ve got for you!

Yes, it still looks painful, I know.  Imagine how I feel?!

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What I’ve worked on here looks a lot like the previous update, I know.  But if you’re super meticulous (like me), then you’ll see that we’ve cleaned the tusk a little bit more.  Cleaning it always is a bit of a crap shoot.  I’m stuck in the wonder of…Will it fall apart if I clean this more, or Will this look super awesome?!  It’s never an easy guessing game.  And truth be told, after today’s cleaning, it did a little of both.  But I’ll let you be the judge.  I’ll soon be using the Paraloid on this so as to freeze all the loose pieces into place.

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See how the tusk looks like rings of a tree?  In the same fashion, that’s how you can tell how old a mammoth is.  This tusk isn’t nearly so easy to read from this vantage point or the degradation.  But I can tell you that this was a juvenile, since the tusk’s circumference is smaller than all the mature mammoths I’ve studied.

Oh, btw, my favorite part about the photo below is that when I walked into the lab, SOME IDIOT WAS TOUCHING THE SANDBAGS!!!!  Of course I jumped all over him.  (Scared him a little too…that was funny!)  😉  I plan on putting this tusk in a flat housing that will contain all the mammoth dirt and tusk flakes that fall away.  The plastic drop cloth was good for when we were plastering, but it’s gotta go!  I will say that just to scootch the tusk around the table is a major event in its self since it is SOOOO heavy now.  I gauge about 80 pounds.  Once I was able to carry it across both arms.  Now?…Errrm….Not so much!

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I’m taking off for Thanksgiving, so I won’t be working on this until next week.  Forgive me?…

Again, I don’t want to expose much of this to the air without treating it more.  I use acrysol at 10% just like last week.

Tools used: 10% acrysol, sandbags, the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water, synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, 5cm arrow for size reference, and aspirator.

Time spent in the lab was about 4 hours.

 
 

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Help Me Get To My First 2015 Archeological Field School In Ireland!

 

**CLICK ON MY CAMPAIGN --->  Help Get Kanya To Her First 2015 Field School

I’m hoping to raise money for me to get to my first out-of-state field school in Ireland where I’ll be working on an archaeological dig in summer 2015.  It is there that I look forward to continuing the marriage of science, art and history. So far, I’ve yet to get out of California for my work.  I need to raise this in order to get me from my Castroville mammoth all the way to an untouched region in Ireland, where I hope to discover history that time has forgotten.  Won’t you please help me & my search for new answers to history?…

$1 – $10: I mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

$11 – $35: You’ll receive a personal “thank you” note delivered to you (if you give me an address or email to send it to), plus I’ll mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

$36 – $75: You’ll receive weekly information on my local and international endeavors on my work.  You’ll also receive a personal “thank you” note delivered to you (if you give me an address or email to send it to), plus I’ll mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

$76 – $150: You’ll receive a mention in my presentation at the professional conference, SCA (Society for California Archaeology) in Spring 2015.  You’ll also receive weekly information on my local and international endeavors on my work. You’ll receive a personal “thank you” note delivered to you (if you give me an address or email to send it to), plus I’ll mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

$151 – $500: You’ll get mentioned in my published work.  You’ll receive a mention in my presentation at the professional conference, SCA (Society for California Archaeology) in Spring 2015. You’ll also receive weekly information on my local and international endeavors on my work. You’ll receive a personal “thank you” note delivered to you (if you give me an address or email to send it to), plus I’ll mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

$501 – $1000: You’ll receive credit as an “Investor” in my published work.  You’ll receive a mention in my presentation at the professional conference, SCA (Society for California Archaeology) in Spring 2015. You’ll also receive weekly information on my local and international endeavors on my work. You’ll receive a personal “thank you” note delivered to you (if you give me an address or email to send it to), plus I’ll mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

$1001 +: I will personally send you an archaeological artifact.  You’ll receive credit as an “Investor” in my published work. You’ll receive a mention in my presentation at the professional conference, SCA (Society for California Archaeology) in Spring 2015. You’ll also receive weekly information on my local and international endeavors on my work. You’ll receive a personal “thank you” note delivered to you (if you give me an address or email to send it to), plus I’ll mention your assistance on Facebook & Twitter.

**Inevitably, I’ll need to come up with about $7,000 by winter 2015…I think I can make up the rest…I think…**

 
Just me in the lab working on the tusk.

Just me in the lab working on the tusk.

 
 

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11/13/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 22)

This is the day!  The day it finally happens!  We’re flipping the mammoth!!!

Flipping The Mammoth Photo

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I worked on the unknown and had no idea what I would find.  I knew that there was the plastic barrier that existed on (what is now) the bottom.  But what the tusk looked like remained a mystery.  I was able to observe the surface through the plastic, to an extent.  I quickly noticed an area that would need swift attention…

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I prepare you for a partial unveiling since it’s not pretty…


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Okay, okay….THIS is where I’m starting.  I don’t want to expose much of this to air without treating  So, I use acrysol at 10% and this percentage seems to work.  I will be back in a week’s time, where I hope to assess my plan of attack.  Stay tuned!

Tools used: 10% acrysol, sandbags, the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water, synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, 5cm arrow for size reference, and aspirator.

Time spent in the lab was about 3 hours.

 
 

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11/5/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 21)

Brought in some assistance from the Foothill Anthropology’s Osteology Club, as well as from my colleague, Dan Cearley to help with the prepping and plastering today.  Inside the cardboard box on the table, there sits the mammoth tusk just like you’ve seen in previous posts.  We are prepping to line the walls and the top (for now) surface of the tusk with tinfoil.  Creating a seal will keep the plaster from making contact with the tusk directly.

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I have anticipated this day for sooooooooooooooo long.  I never thought I’d have so many wonderful assistants to make this happen with me!

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LET’S MAKE PLASTER!!

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Sure, we had the option to wear gloves, but WHY!?  Just wait till you scroll further & realize that it just LOOKS LIKE they’re wearing gloves!

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I have a sneaking suspicion we’re going to be needing a weeee bit more than just that.  But this is a great start!

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Okay….One layer down….NEXT!…. (notice we laugh at the use of gloves now)

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I have a sneaking suspicion that this again…will still not be enough plaster….

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Sooooo…..Apparently playing in plaster brings back child-like joy.  Not a bad side-effect!

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But back to work!  (bwahahahahahaha!)

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We……are……DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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And there was much rejoicing….

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Ta da!  Inception meets fruition!

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Successful day!  We’ll revisit this in a week, giving it time to set.

Tools used: 12 gallons of water, 30 pounds of plaster, the assistance of 3 students, 1 lab director, 1 lab researcher (me), 1 professor (aka, “adult supervision”…cough cough cough!), the mammoth tusk in its little plaster house, LOTS of tape (painters & duct), cardboard, plastic drop cloth, plastic containers and a good sense of humor.

Time in lab was about 3 hours.

*Pssssst!!!!….Next week, WE FLIP THE MAMMOTH!

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10/30/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 20)

You know what this is?…This is a plan…A plan that became a reality!  What does this look like to you?…Looks like the plan to house & flip over the tusk to me!!!!!!!

LET’S GET READY TO PLASTER THE MAMMOTH TUSK!!!!

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When we toss a couple boards together, we can almost convince ourselves that this could happen!  🙂  I worked on the Paraloid application today.  And it treated I 60/40 all the way across.

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After some not-so-difficult convincing, I had a colleague assist me in the 3D rough draft of what this would look like.  Brainstorming session!!

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My colleague, Dan is helping to build a more stable house for it to live in while we rope together plaster, plastic wrap, tin foil….and before you know it, it sounds like we’re MacGyver!

The methodology behind this is the give what right now is the top of this a big plaster hug so that there’s a perfect fit to what will be the base (once we flip it).  Yep, what’s top will be bottom & what’s bottom will be top!!  Having a form-fitting soon-to-be-base will make excavating & preserving this easier.  Cross our fingers & toes, shall we!

tools used…duct tape…archival boards…brainstorming…and sheer determination with that model on the whiteboard!  🙂

2 hours in lab today.

 
 

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9/29/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 19)

Still playing catch-up in my posts, but we’re almost there!

I’m flattered as I walk into the lab & I see this!!!  That’s my stuff!  That’s my work!  That’s my…….wow.  I’m a little beside myself, it’s so awesome.

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I marveled at this for a while, but I had to get back to the tusk!!  The other fractured monstrosity under glass on the right is the mammoth rib that I worked on for a couple years.  That was a nightmare, but it gave me learning tools to get to where I am today on the tusk.

Since I am still cutting plaster back, I am once again using the acrysol/water solution as my water-based preservative since I can clean & preserve at the same time…with others in the room as well.  Since acrysol is a water-based archival element, it doesn’t have the same toxic chemicals that the Paraloid mix does.

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I’ll get back to the Paraloid, I swear!  Just not quite yet.

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I have started to seal the cracks and open spaces where there’s missing pieces.  It’s painful for me to see, but it’s something that kinda comes with the territory of working on something about 20-thousand years old!  Let’s see how you look!  😉

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Tools used: glass pipettes, acetone, Paraloid B-72, mason jars, cheesecloth, respirator, gloves, goggles, sandbags, 5cm arrow for size reference, natural brushes, plastic bags.  Continued using the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water. Tools used to clean the ivory tusk are synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, aspirator and acrysol of varying percentages.  Hmmm…I suppose the heavy duty shears I use to cut back the plaster are tools too.  :p

7 hours in lab

 
 

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7/21/2014 (Revisited) The Columbia Mammoth (Day 18…)

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I just wanted to hit it home on how far we’ve come since I started on this.  Lots more to come, but again, I just wanted to address that the chaos look of this photo is pretty much how working on this has been: Chaotic & messy.  🙂

(that is all…..)

 
 

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