Busy times!

We normally tend to post less through the spring and summer periods as fossiling and prep work take a back seat, and the gardens/enjoying the weather steps forward.

This year however is a little different due to a number of new and substantial finds…! One was made by me –

While out fossiling amongst the Oxford clay around a month ago I came across a tiny fragment of rib. It was situated right beside a huge bed 10 nodule. The nodule itself was not unusual upon first glance, however I decided to try and turn it over. Being by myself this was no small task, but I eventually managed to get it turned over. Upon first glance of this side of the nodule, I knew I had found something rather special…..

bone block 1 top view photo 1

As you can see from this picture the surface of this side of the nodule was just littered with bones. I could see ribs, vertebrae, and other large bones which I could not identify immediately.

I now had a slight problem- how the heck do I get this out and home…..! it was at this point I started making a few rather panicked phone calls. Luckily one of my regular fossil hunting buddies, was free to help and after explaining what I had found joined me in a matter of what seemed like minutes!!

Once he was on the scene, I started to breathe normally again and his experience in big finds became invaluable. We quickly decided that the only way we were going to get this out was to split the nodule. This we did spliting the nodule down into three nearly manageable sized chunks. The next hour or two I only vaguely remember through the fog of back pain and sweat, it was hard going. However nothing worthwhile is ever easy…..!

bone block 1 top view photo 24

Some of the surface bones

Upon initial examination of the nodule, it became apparent that we had got quite a large chunk of what we believe is a Plesiosaur. Some of the bones that were visible had signs that it had either been attacked or scavenged after death (bite marks!!)

possible bite marks 1

Bite marks on the bone

The bones do not just sit on the surface of the nodule but also run through the inside as well, which will make preparation a little bit of a challenge on how best to prep it for display. This and the sheer size of the specimen in relation to my workshop, I felt I was not equipped to prepare this potentially important find. Luckily I had a very kind offer from one of the UK’s leading fossil experts to prepare it for me!

I will post again in a few weeks to show you how the preparation is progressing.

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