It’s the last day of a seven-day stint working on the Hell Creek Project, and participants Jason Love and Luke Tufts are not professional archaeologists. In fact, they’re just volunteers, and their part in this mission to explore the region’s prehistoric past has come about purely as the result of their amateur enthusiasm. However, they’re about to make a discovery that will make them the envy of paleontologists the world over.
Hell Creek is regarded as something of a Mecca in paleontological circles. Located near Jordan, Montana, it’s part of a larger rock formation that formed some 65 and a half million years ago and spans parts of the Eastern Montana badlands, running into Wyoming and North and South Dakota.
This mass of rock is named the Hell Creek Formation. In the Cretaceous period, this area of North America would have been warm and wet – a coastal area bordered by shallow seas.