Off to the Field!

Off to the Field!
All packed!

What’s ‘The Field’? It’s where paleontologists go to look for fossils. We call it Field Work, hence ‘going to the field’, and it can take place anywhere we travel to look for fossils. This year I was invited to join the crew from the Burpee Museum (in Illinois) to their field site in Hanksville, Utah.

Hanksville utah

I’ve been fossil hunting before, to the Petrified Forest of Arizona (Late Triassic sediments), and to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia (Cretaceous sediments). I’m really excited to be able to go to a new place (Utah) and a new time (Jurassic sediments) and hopefully interact with animals that died millions of years ago. I’m joining the crew for their last week in the field, so the goals of the trip are to hopefully find some new fossils, but mostly help them finish jacketing big fossil, loading them in to the cars, and packing up the gear they brought out there.

In this post, I want to share some of the equipment I’m taking with me. If you want to follow my journey live, follow me on twitter: @DrNeurosaurus

As an early career paleontologist, I have some field equipment, but not everything I need, so I’ll tell you what’s mine and what I’m borrowing from a friend. Firstly, housing. I’ll be sleeping in a tent (mine), with a sleeping pad (mine) and sleeping bag (borrowed).

My tent, with my fabulous dog model, Maia.

My tent, with my fabulous dog model, Maia.

sleeping bag pad

Sleeping bag and pad.

I’ll be bringing a first aid kit (mine), sun screen, and bug spray, because it’s important to be prepared. Spending a lot of time in the sun means dehydration, so to avoid that, I have an insulated 3 liter camelback, and a 1 liter Sigg bottle. I usually drink about 4 liters while I’m in the field and more back at camp.

water first aide

In terms of tools, I’m bringing my rock hammer, hand lens, 3 empty film containers (for small fossils), 1 small brush, a headlamp, a multitool, and a knife (all mine). The only camera I’m bringing is my cell phone.


Tools from top left to bottom right: brush, carabiners, rock hammer, fire starter, awl, multitool, empty film containers, hand lens, and knife.

In addition, I have an assortment of clothes, 2 hats, a dinosaur bandana I’ve had since elementary school, boots, and a football (all mine). The sun stays up a long time in the summer, it’s fun to have something to do back at camp.

Next week, I’ll talk about the trip, the fossils we saw, the day to day around camp, and other fun things, so make sure to check back in!

all packed

I’m all packed! See you next week!

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