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The Fossil Excavator is an Architect Artifact found as part of a dig site in the Deep Purple Vents. The excavator is a large, on-rails device that was being used to uncover a fossil resembling a trilobite.

A small Architect installation with an Ion Cube can be found nearby.

Data Bank Entry

Fossil Excavator

Based on analysis, it is speculated that this artifact is an archaeological tool for finding and excavating fossil remnants.

The main body of the equipment is housed between two glide rails. The excavator emits a sonar pulse that gathers data on the ground beneath it. When it bounces back with a possible fossilized object it begins the excavation process.

A set of lasers emit from the arms and slowly removes micro-layers of material. Once the fossil is revealed, the same carefully calibrated lasers are utilized to break loose materials while preserving the fossil underneath.

Fossils can be analyzed using carbon dating and other methods to understand what the environmental makeup might have been millions of years ago, which can be compared to current data to look for trends.

Source: Scan the Fossil Excavator