Riversleigh Field Trip 2014

Figure1

Figure 1: The 2014 Riversleigh Team clockwise from left – Jane Cohen, Jon Woodhead, Diana Dickson, Mel Dickson, John Prince, Amber Cannell, Crystal Cannell, Lizard Cannell, Georgia Soares, Robin Beck (hiding), Naomi Machin, Chris Palmer, Chris Larkin, Davin (helicopter pilot), Kerry Rackham, Rick Arena, Troy Myers, Phil Creaser, Kenny Travouillon, Dylan Bye, Michael Archer, David Cohen, Nikkita Archer, Karen Black, Anna Gillespie, Laura Wilson, Olivia Christmas, Bok Khoo and Blake Dickson. Other members not included in this photo are Steve and Lisa Rees, and Henk Godthelp. Members from the Waterhouse Group, volunteers associated with the South Australian Museum, joined us in our dig. And members from Hunter Geology visited for a tour of the “D” site.

As published in Riversleigh Notes Issue No. 91, October 2014, the newsletter of the Riversleigh Society. Join the society by clicking on Membership at the top of the Riversleigh Society web site.

We had another delightful field trip to Riversleigh this year. Over 30 people from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and New Zealand met at our accommodation at the Adels Grove Camping Park on the 30th of June.

On our way up from Mount Isa, the closest airport, we collected the hire cars, hired a generator and a corded drill, picked up our tools from the storage containers at Alan and Dale Rackham’s property and purchased other essential supplies.

Figure 2: Safety briefing and planning before leaving Adels Grove.

Figure 2: Safety briefing and planning before leaving Adels Grove.

The Riversleigh team were separated into several groups depending on the objectives for the day. We had our safety briefing on the first morning (Figure 2), and separated into the planned groups each day before setting off for the day’s activities at the Riversleigh World Heritage Area (“RWHA”), about 50km south of Adels Grove.

Figure 3: The Cook’s Tour at the “D” site Interpretive Center.

Figure 3: The Cook’s Tour at the “D” site Interpretive Center.

Mike gave several sessions of his customary Cook’s Tours to the Riversleigh “D” site (Figure 3) to all the first-timers, members of the Waterhouse Group and Hunter Geology. “D” site was the first major fossil deposit discovered at Riversleigh. The Interpretive Centre at the “D” site is the only publicly accessible fossil location at Riversleigh.

Jon’s Dating Madness And The Game Of Troy

Figure 4: Jon’s Dating Madness, our first and most productive site this year.

Figure 4: Jon’s Dating Madness, our first and most productive site this year.

I was in the group assigned to survey the area north and east of the AL90 site on the first morning. Jon Woodhead, our dating expert from the University of Melbourne, found the first site of this trip (Figure 4) and named it Jon’s Dating Madness (“JDM”). The bits of bone and teeth protruding from the rock surfaces looked very promising so we conducted a more extensive survey of the surrounds. Troy Myers very soon found the Game Of Troy (“GOT”) site about 30 meters north east of JDM.

Figure 5: A split large tooth row from Jon’s Dating Madness.

Figure 5: A split large tooth row from Jon’s Dating Madness.

We started the excavation of the both the JDM and GOT sites. GOT turned out to be a thin lens of fossiliferous material and was quickly exhausted. However JDM kept producing more fossiliferous materials the deeper and wider we excavated. Some of the teeth and bone were identified as kangaroo, diprotodontid (Figure 5) and bird.

Figure 6: Aerial view of Jon’s Dating Madness midway through the excavations.

Figure 6: Aerial view of Jon’s Dating Madness midway through the excavations.

Our excavation team at JDM numbered 10 to 15 people over several days (Figure 6). We collected several hundred kilograms of fossiliferous materials. It was the most productive site for this year’s trip.

Figure 7: The Waterhouse Group at Jon’s Dating Madness.

Figure 7: The Waterhouse Group at Jon’s Dating Madness.

The Waterhouse Group (Figure 7) got right into the digging, cracking, sorting and packaging the the fossiliferous limestone at JDM.

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