The last day of the dig finally arrived, and it became evident that the weeks of hard work had really paid off, since we were right on schedule, with ample time to wrap everything up and remove the jackets from the quarry at a smooth pace. One side of each of the bone jackets was already wrapped in burlap and plaster and had dried overnight, so in the morning they were all undercut at their bases, and successfully flipped over. Once flipped, excess rock was removed to make the jackets smaller and easier to handle. We then jacketed the other side of the blocks, completing the safe shell-like structure that will protect the bones inside during transport and storage.
If a jacket is built successfully, it will cushion its contents throughout all of the vibrations of traveling on rough roads, as well as any impacts that it might endure during lifting and setting down. And our jackets are looking very much up to that task! The jackets were loaded onto a truck and transported to Alvarito’s in Moçâmedes for safekeeping until they can be shipped to prep labs in the US and Portugal.