The sign says Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, but this week's speaker series lecture talks about archeology. Darren TankeDarren Tanke. Photo submitted.
 
The museum's Darren Tanke will talk about his last summer in the field, when he was asked to work with a couple of archeological teams.
 
"How we approach a dinosaur dig versus an archeological dig is quite different," he explained. "In these cases, the archeologists wanted to remove some large objects as a single unit, which they don't usually do, so they called the Royal Tyrrell Museum."
 
"Usually, when we find a dinosaur or dinosaur bone, we make a plaster jacket on top, down the sides, undercut it and then jacket and roll it over," he outlined. "These guys wanted the artifacts collected from top, sides and bottom all at once."
 
Tanke, who is a preparation technician at the Tyrrell, worked with archeological teams near Elk Point, east of St. Paul, and at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump west of Fort MacLeod. The second find was a 1,300-year-old First Nations roasting pit complete with skeletal remains of an uneaten meal.
 
"The specimen could not be removed from where it was originally put so we had to undermine it, shore it up with wood and plaster jacket on the bottom, the top and the sides simultaneously," he recalled. "It had never been tried before (and) we had to think on the fly, developing new techniques as we went."
 
One of the stone blocks weighed almost 1,500 kilograms.
 
The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Speaker Series talks are free and open to the public. They are held every Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in the museum auditorium.
 

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