We run an all-encompassing paleontological dig in the scenic badlands of North Dakota and Montana. Our primary goal is the promotion of paleontology, while conducting and supporting research efforts that benefit the scientific community as a whole. To support our goals, we offer participants the chance to take part in our dig. This way, anyone can witness the entire process from discovery to preparation.
Each field season we offer the opportunity for you to join our dig. Unearth the full paleontological dig experience, from discovery to preparation in our field lab. You will prospect for fossils and learn to use proper scientific field techniques—having the opportunity to be the first to lay eyes and hands on the fossilized remains of an animal that has not walked this earth in over 66 million years.
We prefer a traditional, more expedition-like approach to the dig season. This entails having a field camp in the beautiful, rugged badlands of North Dakota or Montana. The field camp consists of these basic facilities: field lab, kitchen, showers, restroom, volunteers' tents, and our field office. We also set up one community fire pit for gathering around in the late evenings. If camping for a week concerns you, don’t be alarmed! The camping experience is one of relative comfort. You will get a shower every day, there are restrooms at camp, and you have the opportunity to charge your personal mobile devices in the evenings. Unless traveling by plane, you generally provide your own camp gear with the exception of a tent. We provide tents for the duration of your charter. The large luxury camping tents have 133ft² or more of floor space. Generally there are two participants per tent. If preferred, you may bring and use your own tent. Campers and RVs are also welcome. If bringing a camper or RV that requires a generator, keep in mind we don’t normally allow them to be running except for the few hours a day when our generator is on. This is based on noise pollution and does not necessarily apply to all generators. If you are traveling by plane you can rent a cot, sleeping-bag, and pillow.
Working on the dig usually entails long periods of hiking and sitting. Also, the badlands are generally hot, dry, and sunny during the day. Keep that in mind when considering this dig. In order to break up the day we try to both prospect and work on excavations each day. The field day usually depends on the weather. If it is abnormally hot we may cut the field excavation short for the day. In the rare event of rain we may visit some local museums and have a more lab intensive day.
Breakfast will be served at the local Marmarth Cafe and sack-lunches will be provided for the day. Evening meals are a community event usually akin to a barbecue. Daily preparation of evening meals and camp clean-up is a group responsibility. We provide all the food and utensils, but you are welcome to bring additional provisions. Vegetarian preferences and food allergies can be accommodated with advance notice, although we operate under the assumption most are carnivores!
DISCLAIMER: Excavations often require the use of heavy machinery, sharp tools, etc. for proper removal of specimens. A safety overview will be provided at the beginning of the dig. You must acknowledge the natural dangers of working in a remote, arid environment, (local wildlife, dehydration, severe weather, etc.). Further info can be found in the Sign Up section.
Thank you for considering our dig, we look forward to hearing from you!