As promised, here are some photos from my trip to Inversand last week. Most of the material I brought home consisted of clam and snail shells, but I managed to get a picture or two of the fossils that went off to the museum.
One of the biggest problems we had while working was water; we dug down far enough that water seemed to be everywhere, and we made a miniature dam to help keep things dry. Every few minutes it would break (water flowed in from uphill), so keeping up the wall became a full-time job.
Working on the bench made just above the Main Fossiliferous Layer (or Mother-F’ing-Layer, as some of the Inversand workers call it), a good number of crocodile scutes were uncovered. We took some out individually, but others seemed to be in a jumble so a pedestal was made and they were jacketed. Unfortunately, the plaster that was provided turned out to be absolutely useless, but the fossils were removed as a group anyway. Lots of snail and clam shells were associated with the scutes, suggesting that some of these inverts were buried with the croc or were feeding upon parts of it when all of them were covered over and preserved.
Part of a large ratfish jaw was also uncovered, and we used water to wash away most of the surrounding material. Trowels and picks often took away bits of the fossils if we worked too close, but pouring water around them seemed to work better from a preservation standpoint (although it took much longer).
Above is most of the group present that day, watching the work. Other than two representatives from the New Jersey State Museum, I didn’t know anyone, although most of them were grads or undergrads from Drexel University. Hopefully I’ll be able to head back to Inversand sometime soon now that I have a better idea of how to work the area.
And lest I forget, the group also found a grenade in the parking lot that day, apparently shipped in by accident from Surf City where a large amount of WWII era munitions have been uncovered. No one was hurt, but it was bizarre stepping out of the car to see a rusty grenade on the ground.