On a SUMMER DAY…You Might Find a Fossil in a Campground

While camping in the backwoods of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Rachel Hodgkiss spent time hunting for fossils. Hoping for a great discovery she was quite surprised by what she did find. This happened in 1967 and until now the family has kept the finding private.

Rachel slept on the floor of the tent and each night complained about something sticking her in the back. Each night her parents, used to Rachel's vivid imagination, would tell her to "Shut up and go to sleep!"

By the fourth morning Rachel, exhausted from no sleep for three nights, convinced her dad that there really was something sticking her in the back. So her dad moved the tent and Rachel began digging with a small wooden spoon that had come with some Neapolitan ice cream she'd bought at the camp store. It took her about an hour-and-a-half to uncover this amazing discovery.

You can imagine how surprised they were when SNL did a skit about the Coneheads in 1977.

Rachel Hodgkiss holding Conehead fossil outside family tent, August 1967.


  1. Rachel took her artifact back home to place on her bureau with her collection of curios. Over the years it wandered from shelf to shelf, basket to box, until finally after Rachel had moved away from home, her mother put it into a big cardboard box in the attic. Time flies and mom and dad sell the house and retire to Arizona. More years pass and one day a small boy playing in the attic discovers the box contents. He takes the mystery object out to the backyard where, like any proper pirate with secret treasure would do, he buries it in the garden. X marks the spot.

    1. Oh yes! The mystery continues! Is there a map somewhere showing the x mark? Time will tell.

  2. It's all more mysterious when you can't figure out just what that cone shaped thing might even be!

  3. What a yarn! Worthy of Eric Idle!

  4. Oh yes, it would have made a nice Python bit.