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Monday, May 4
Don Brandborg and Angie Matthias
Western Interior Paleontological Society
Don's Gooseberry Pit
In 2003 some WIPS members and DMNS volunteers for Dr. Russell Graham went up to Custer, South Dakota to help excavate and catalogue specimens from Parker’s Pit,
a vertical cave located in Black Hills National Park. While Russ went into Hill City on one of his shopping excursions,
Don Brandborg and Tim Vogt explored the area. Don wondered why a Gooseberry bush was growing all by itself in the area.
The area around the bush was depressed making Don think that there might be a cave below the bush. They pulled out the bush and there was the opening of the cave.
A History and Timeline of Fossil Discoveries
2003 - 2014
There are two caves being excavated, Parker's Pit and Don's Gooseberry Pit about 150 feet apart. Finding Dicrostonyx richardsoni collared lemmings in Don's cave provides insight into the continuing climate change from the Laurentide ice sheet to the extanct Dicrostonyx richardsoni living in the tundra today.
Don has been volunteering at DMNS since 1996 and started digging paleo sites since 1997 with Russ Graham. Don discovered Don's Gooseberry Pit (DGP) in October 2003. 2015 will be the 13th year of excavation of Don's cave. The wonderful profiles of the cave that you will see in the presentation were all drawn by Don.
Angie started volunteering at DMNS in 1987 during the Ramses exhibit and continuing with block buster exhibits as a docent. While attending the old DMNS certification program classes, Angie went on her first prospecting trip with Richard Stucky in 1995. In 2002, Angie and Bill Matthias did some preliminary investigation of the logistics it would take for a group of 12 people to participate in cave excavation located in the Black Hills National Forest. Looking into camping facilities, screen washing and bone picking under the direction of Russ Graham and Eric Grimm, the Parker's Pit directors and the U.S. Forest Service.
Don and Nikkie and Angie met while digging at Bones Galore for Russ Graham.