Today marks halfway point in seven-week dig

The team from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is accelerating their digging effort this week as they reach the halfway point in the seven-week project to remove Ice Age fossils from Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village. Five local volunteers and 10 additional people from Denver have joined the onsite crew of more than 40, which is digging at an aggressive pace with the help of two excavators, two track hoes, and additional machines.

"Our goal is to remove 50 percent of the bones by the end of this week," said Dr. Kirk Johnson, the leader of the Museum's excavation team and vice president of the Research and Collections Division. "We worked closely with engineers who staked out the exact locations to dig and expose the ancient lake bottom, where most of the fossils are located. The landscape is changing daily as we pull out tons of dirt and incredible numbers of fossils."

More than 1,000 fossils have been uncovered since digging resumed on May 15, including 15 jacketed fossils of mastodon skulls and pelvises that each weigh 300 to 700 pounds and are the size of a kitchen stove. A team of 10 individuals is cleaning, wrapping, and processing the fossils to prepare them for conservation and research back at the Museum in Denver.

Scientists and educators from the Museum plan to share the latest about this amazing find at several upcoming events, including the Ice Age Spectacular in Snowmass Village on June 18 and 19, and presentations by Johnson at Colorado Mountain College on June 15 and at the Aspen Institute on June 23.


With only seven weeks to spend in the field and bones popping out of the ground left and right, it's only natural for things to get a little competitive at the dig site. Follow teams Mammoth, Sloth, Tiger Salamander, and Trench as they compete for the biggest bone count in the No Bones Left Behind Challenge. Watch the video on this page to get introduced to the team captains, and stayed tuned this Friday for an update on which team is in the lead. Who are you rooting for?

Project Updates

Get caught up on everything that happened in the field, learn what scientists are doing to preserve the bones, and find out the latest discoveries from our team of experts.

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Discovery Timeline

See how this amazing discovery unfolded, from the first fossil to the last day of the dig.


Digging Snowmastodon

Order Digging Snowmastodon: Discovering an Ice Age World in the Colorado Rockies, a first-person account of the historic Ice Age fossil find, today!

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