Clarence (Trip) Barnes 3rd has been helping people transplant belongings to and from the Vineyard for over 40 years. This Memorial Day, he became the Island's only dino mover.

Mr. Barnes, along with an assortment of local builders, contractors and heavy machinery, helped place a 1,000-pound, seven-and-a-half-foot fossilized Triceratops skull atop a metal pedestal in the specially renovated hallway of a Vineyard Haven home.

The giant skull, nicknamed "Hatcher," was discovered buried on a rural Montana ranch; amateur paleontologist Henry Kriegstein, who has been fascinated with dinosaurs since childhood and an avid fossil hunter and collector for about a decade, decided it would be a welcome addition to his Island summer home.

Part of the skull, the rostrum, or snout, was discovered by Mr. Kriegstein and his friend and fellow collector in Montana, high school history teacher Bob Curry. Mr. Kriegstein and his daughter, Adie, flew out to the site and helped excavate the portion of the fossil and encase it in a plaster jacket for safekeeping. After Mr. Kriegstein returned to his home in Hingham, Conn., Mr. Curry called to tell him he had found the rest of the skull, believed to be one of the largest ever discovered.

That was four years ago, but with a fossil believed to be over 43 million years old, time is relative. After Mr. Kriegstein purchased the fossil from the ranch owner (fossils found on private land are the property of the owner), the process of having it cleaned, restored and packed for the cross country journey to his home off Barnes Road began. Fossil Works, a paleontology restoration company in Lawrence, Kans., oversaw the excavation and restoration of the skull. Once the process was completed, Mr. Kriegstein donated the fossil to Science City, a museum in Kansas City, for a year, while he made preparations for its arrival here.

David Burnhan, who's been digging up dinosaurs since 1979, oversaw the project and accompanied Hatcher to its new home where it was a welcome guest - albeit one requiring a little accommodation. To properly display the fossil, the Kriegsteins had to redesign the entire front portion of their home, widening doors, retiling the floor (with German tiles that contain tiny fossils from the excavation site where the oldest fossil was found) and installing a spiral staircase that wraps around the rust brown, thousand-pound lizard head.

Island builder Tom Burke oversaw the modifications to the house.

"This is the first dinosaur renovation and moving that I've been involved in; I don't know what will be next," Mr. Burke said.

Arriving on Sunday, May 30, Hatcher was transported in a fittingly green Barnes Moving truck to the parking lot of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High school, where with the aid of forklift and crane, it was placed atop a Hinckley's Lumber truck that carried the bulky plywood box and fragile cargo to the Kreigsteins' home.

 triceratops skull

Traveling hundreds of miles by truck, boat and finally hydraulic engine jack, the fossil encountered a few dings and chips, breaking a horn off somewhere along the way, a contingency that Mr. Burke was prepared for with an array of industrial adhesives to piece the fossil back together. Acting as videographer and recording the unloading process, artist Kim Taylor traveled with the team to touch up any cracks or chips with carefully matched acrylic paint.

"[The fossil] was like a broken eggshell that was pieced back together. The jarring and movement can separate those pieces," said Ms. Taylor, who works as a museum backdrop designer for the Kansas Museum of Natural History.

Over the span of four hours, the fossil was removed from its shipping box, gingerly lifted onto a ramp into the doorway and then hoisted inch by inch with a hydraulic engine dolly until the gargantuan mass of stone hovered only a few inches off the ground, flanked by nervous technicians, contractors and a lot of curious bystanders with cameras in hand. The process was slowed when the team realized the fossil was facing the wrong way, and had to be rotated with the aid of the truck's forklift crane. By 3 p.m., the fossil was bolted into its base, gazing toward the Lagoon and, doubtlessly, all the delicious trees that flank it.

Triceratops, like buffalo, once roamed the land in herds. Each of the herbivores (plant eaters) weighed about as much as four modern-day elephants.