Monday, December 28, 2009

Diggin' the Past

My DSIL (Darling Sister-In-Law) set up and paid for a fossil expedition as part of our Christmas presents from her. Mark Renz was our guide. He has been featured on the Travel Channel and is a published author. He was very friendly and helpful. His dog Darwin came along on the expedition too.

The day before the expedition we set out the supplies we would need. We all had boots, extra pairs of old tennis shoes, two pair of socks, dry clothes to change into when we were done, hats, drinks, lunches and the above pictured sprays and lotions.

The morning of the expedition we loaded up two vehicles and hit the road. We would meet up with Mr. Renz roughly 30 minutes north in a Burger King parking lot. We carbed up for breakfast at a neighboring fast food restaurant before Mr. Renz's arrival.

Mr. Renz arrived, introduced himself, then we caravaned to the area we would be fossil hunting. We pulled into the park which was nestled against the Peace River. We would be hunting fossils in the Peace River.

Mark Renz gave us the tools we would need; shovels, screens and waist pouches to put any of our finds in. He also told us how and where to dig once we were in the river.

The water was cold as it filled our boots or shoes, but your feet and legs soon got used to the cold (or maybe just got too numb to feel anything). The day was warm and there was little or no breeze which made tolerating the river water easier. We carefully made our way into the water; some of us stayed near the shore as others ventured further into the river.

We shoveled and screened for a couple of hours, took a lunch break and hit the river again.

I stayed in one area of the river and continued working the same hole, digging deeper and deeper. I got so deep that the river water was chest high. Mr. Renz said deep down is where you could find the older fossils. At times the current of the river was a bit strong which made remaining steady on your feet as you dug a little dicey.

Darwin watching from the shore.

We all found fossils...nothing museum quality.

My Mother-In-Law found a piece of Mastodon bone. I did too.

I found the bone of an extinct horse. This bone would have been between the leg and hoof of the horse (what we would consider the wrist in a human).

We all found some rib bones of ancient Dugongs.

The Colonel and Yam found some ivory (upper right-hand specimen in picture below). The other items in the picture are the horse bone and a partial ancient shark's tooth.

We found many small shark's teeth fossils.

The Colonel and I found pieces of Chert; a type of sedimentary rock used by ancient people in forming tools such as arrowheads. The pieces we found were the cast offs from the tool making of the Indians long, long ago.

What an experience fossil hunting in the Peace River was and what a great Christmas present. Thanks DSIL!


  1. What an awesome experience! Do you have any special plans for your finds?

  2. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time digging for ancient artifacts, how fun, and all I have is a metal detector sitting in my closet waiting to find beer pull tabs and horse shoes in the back yard, I guess its a start though....Kit

  3. How cool! Here in Indiana, we felt like we hit the jackpot when we found half of an arrowhead in a bag of mulch!! :)
    Bonnie Jo

  4. With all the cool activities you all do, you should have your own reality show.