The final day of the dig! We are all tired, sore, a little cranky……and in some ways the last day of the dig is always the longest! The final day entails filling in all the trenches (with precise excavating!), bagging and cataloguing the artefacts, washing and packing away the equipment, returning the infamous portaloo (the crapper!), and making sure the dig site has been rehabilitated and left in a somewhat better condition than when we started. There was a flurry of activity trying to get the last of the sieving completed! Directions from the Archeos was to keep sieving buckets until it was tools down and the excavator arrived. This left us with no time to sort through the bone bed pile, and at one stage I looked up from my bathtub of doom, to see Ben elbow deep trying to bag up every last particle of the bone bed into tagged bags. I quickly abandoned the sieving to help as I knew that every bag would offer a treasure trove of bones and teeth, and even as we were scooping the samples into the bags there were exclamations and profanities as we found megafauna teeth and bone. You can’t see […]


After a very late night (hic!) and a VERY early morning (hello keep cup with very strong tea bag!) we travelled back to Lancefield to help prepare for the big event of the Lancefield Megafauna Festival. Every year the township of Lancefield embraces it’s unique history and celebrates the fact that, basically, the town is one big treasure trove of Paleontological artefacts and wherever you dig you are likely to find bone from animals that have been extinct for thousands of years! It’s great! They transform the main township into a market festival with performances, food, and all sorts of treasures to buy! One of the features of this years festival was tours of the dig site. So with everyone prepared to watch out for all sorts of OHS issues regarding the public and what is technically a mining site, we conducted tours of the dig site, allowing the public to see up close and personal what it’s like to dig trenches, sit in pits, and sieve through buckets of sludge. They loved it! And so did the media! Interviews with SBS news, local print media and various radio talkshows gave us more exposure than we had dreamed of! At […]


Today, I could only spend half a day in the field, as my second eldest son, Jason, graduated from Secondary School. Apparently that’s a big deal, so big that a graduation ceremony and dinner had been planned. But there was an open bar so I was partially sated….. So, thinking I would be having to shower before the big Shindig anyway, I decided to try my hand at sieving! Now sieving is what we geos refer to as a “Right of Passage”. Most fieldies will have known the pain of being bent over a bucket trying to push rocks through a mesh! The purpose of sieving is to make sure every tiny artefact is removed from the soil sample, and usually we use a 5mm sieve which means the grid lines are about 5mm square. This usually will sort out very small pieces of bone or rock – which is what Palaeontologists and Geologists look for. But apparently Archeologists require a 1mm sieve to be used. And these are painful! Trying to push almost lithified clay through a 1mm square is just plain nasty! I akin it to cheese grating a piece of clay. I’m not sure what kind of artefact […]


Oh….my……gawd! I had the BEST day in the many BESTEST days I’ve ever had since falling in love with rocks! After rushing around and doing all my jobs to ensure the welfare and comfort of all my volunteers (I take my job very seriously with chocolate zucchini cake – the green bits are NOT those kind of green bits – and giant Anzac cookies), I made my way over to the dig site. Immediately I launched myself upon the mounds that have yielded bone and teeth and began scrambling through dirt, clay and who knows what (could be million year old shit for all I know!) and with sterile rubber gloves, I began plucking bits of bone and teeth. I was happy as a proverbial geologist/paleontologist in mud! With me elbow deep in mud, my walkie talkie went off with my Long-Suffering Mentor needing help in showing a reporter around the site. After cleaning myself off I deftly managed to try and look as professional as I could while wearing flannel and being covered head to toe in mud, and as Sanja showed the reporter to the mound I had just been working on, I looked down…… Right in front […]


So, I went to the Doctor and after being pumped full of drugs I got the all clear to come back to the dig site…..(actually I begged and pleaded and made promises of resting lots and making sure I didn’t overdo it…..yeah right!). Upon arriving back on site the weather was so inclement that the crew had called it a day. It was cold, wet and bitter – to the point people’s fingers didn’t work anymore. So instead of an active dig site, I walked into the common room full of scientists all doing their second most favourite thing! Drinking! So, when Cam and Tim (when I grow up I want to be like Cam and Tim – or marry their brains!) asked me to go and help them do something on the dig site I assumed they were just going to show me around. Five trenches have been opened up and two of them are yielding a lot of bone and teeth. I was desperate to see! We walked over to the dig site and approached a tarp that was covering three heaps of dirt. When we pulled back the tarp the dirt was full of clay and was […]


I slept badly…..like really badly which is bad because I am usually a bad sleeper…… I knew something was wrong but I didn’t want to admit it. Until I started getting really sick! And I couldn’t hide it from everyone. So I had to go home. Leave the dig site. Leave Lancefield and just go home. And I cried….and cried……and yelled and screamed……I had worked so hard helping to organise this week and now I have to miss out on things because I got sick! But, I pulled up my big-girl pants and did what I needed to. I went home, and went to the doctor, and went to bed for a few hours…… ……and I will go back to Lancefield tomorrow…… *sniff!*


Hello Everyone and a huge, warm welcome from a very warm Lancefield, Victoria. Today marks the beginning of a week long adventure of epic proportions featuring the combined superpowers of the Deakin University Palaeontology crew, the Latrobe University Archeology crew, Monash University Earth, Atmosphere and Environment crew, and the Federation University Palynologist crew (Cam called them Beeople!). Lancefield is a small Victorian town famous for megafauna, which means that Lancefield is a small Victorian town famous for it’s capacity to host lots of lots of scientists who regularly descend on it to dig megafauna! And it’s so much fun…… This week we are opening up a series of trenches in the swamp region of Lancefield to see what can be found! With over 20 volunteers involved, it has fallen upon me to co-manage the dig site (the other site manager being the ever capable, and much more experienced, Cam), and considering I’ve never managed a dig site, nor never actually attending a paleo dig before (I only found out megafauna were not in fact dinosaurs last year!) I think I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew (get that – I did a funny there! Because megafauna […]


With an early start at 6am, the intrepid travellers (my long-suffering mentor driving and my sleepy geologist friend navigating) departed the infamous town of Trundle, finishing up our exploration trek of Fifield and Syerston. It was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye (again!) to Middy the pub dog and the gorgeous publican (soon to be Masters student in Education – go you!) Danielle, and drove into the wild blue yonder…….well……we drove south! After about 20 minutes of travelling we came across a roadside outcrop (have I mentioned how much I LOVE roadside cuttings – they are just AWESOME! But I digress……) of a very interesting nature. This outcrop was a Silurian coral reef full of fossilised remains of Silurian corals, around 408-438 million years old……yes….I said MILLION! With our trusty rock hammer we happily began smashing rocks left, right and centre to find masses of coral remains fossilised in the limestone. A few samples were gathered (Ah……mine may have been so big it was a little difficult to fit behind the front passenger seat which was my allocated area for rocks – read “Bec, you can’t have anything bigger than what can fit behind the seat so don’t […]


[gmap-embed id=”82″]     Day four began in glorious weather – with a “proof of life” selfie taken and posted to Facebook so my Dear Old Dad knew I was alive and well! I was most excited about today as my Long-Suffering Mentor had gained permission from the boss to take us out for breakfast to a very special place! And so began a small (by outback standards!) drive to Parkes, NSW.       You see lots of odd things in country Australia but nothing as odd as an Elvis on a Ute……holding a chainsaw…… We travelled for about three quarters of an hour through a few country towns but mainly wide open spaces with endless paddocks of golden wheat until out of the middle of no where, a HUGE radio telescope appeared. It seriously looked like something from a Mars landscape, totally opposite of it’s surroundings and epic in it’s formidable size and appearance. I was mesmerised! The next hour was spent devouring devine Eggs Benedict and running around the many information booths and signs that are set up at the Parkes Dish! Me, being OCD when it comes to having to read every bloody sign (!!!!), looked like […]


[gmap-embed id=”22″]The day began at 7.30am once again, after rising to another sensational sunrise through my window at the Trundle Pub. Immediately, we set off towards Fifield again, this time heading toward “Area 1” – our designated tenement. The terrain was very different to our sampling areas of yesterday – a lot more trees and bush-like vegetation. There were lots of Big Grey Kangaroos and we even saw a Swamp Wallaby complete with joey in her pouch.   Stopping for a sample, we bush bashed maybe 250 metres into heavy scrub and dense vegetation only to turn around and see a huge Grey roo watching us – he would have only been about 10 metres away. He was HUGE! (Almost as tall as AB!) Thick, stocky build – I can understand the damage these guys can do to crops. But I felt surprisingly special seeing this guy up close and personal. As he thundered off the ground shook with each bounce!     Today’s exploration was with gold and tin in mind, so we were on the search for pink granites. A change in rock indicates a change in what minerals the area holds and different minerals are found in […]