Notes from La Brea: Excavations

The Dark Matter: Anthropocene special project at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in Los Angeles uses the lens of art to investigate the work of paleo-scientists researching the preservative properties of bitumen and the prehistoric stories revealed within.

Each discipline has its own language with which to communicate. The paleo-scientific world of La Brea is no exception.

    “This site is a living organism…

    … and a museum of death.” Asphalt Lake Pit La Brea Tar Pits.

” It’s all about entrapment.” Project 23 boxes of fossils and workers excavating them in a locked enclosure.

    “There is definitely carnivore bias.” Wall of dire wolf skulls in the museum.

“Insects are the majority of living organisms yet museums focus on large vertebrates. Don’t get me started!”  Modern insect trap Pit 3/4 61/67.
“We are really more interested in what is bigger than us and what might kill us.” Columbian Mammoth in the Museum.

“Box 14 is a jumble of bones.” Box 14 fossils in matrix.

“If you cut yourself, clean up right away. Don’t contaminate the matrix.” Project 23 Box 14  rules.  Dental tools for excavation.

    “Use common sense. Don’t fall into the pit…

“…then again, no body, no crime.” Pit 91 health and safety induction.


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