A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast
by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers
With prehistoric life and scene reconstructions by Andreas Kurpisz
Siri Scientific Press (1 Dec, 2018) 978-0-9957496-6-5 RRP £19.99
224 pp, 240 x 165 mm, soft cover, 250 colour photographs & illustrations
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Deposits Magazine (2018, issue 56, page 43, snippets): This newly published guide is another near-perfect fossil book from Siri Scientific Press, who are rapidly becoming my favourite publisher of esoteric palaeontology. … As a guide for amateurs on the geology, history of collecting and palaeontology of this part of the British coast, this guide is hard to beat. … Best of all are the numerous full colour photos of the fossils themselves, to allow identification, and the beautiful artistic interpretations of what the Triassic and Jurassic seas may have looked like by Andreas Kurpisz. … I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who has been to West Dorset to collect fossils or anyone who is intending to go. It is also worth owning just to admire the pictures.
Everything Dinosaur Blog: At a conference in a rather chilly Helsinki held seventeen years ago this week, delegates of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), confirmed that World Heritage Site status would be conferred upon a 95-mile stretch of the coastline of southern England covering the east Devon and Dorset coast.
In the minutes of the conference, the reason for this award was recorded:
“The Dorset and East Devon Coast provides an almost continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting approximately 185 million years of Earth history. It also includes a range of internationally important fossil localities – vertebrate and invertebrate, marine and terrestrial – which have produced well-preserved and diverse evidence of life during Mesozoic times.”
However, this description does not convey the true majesty of this location, nor does it provide a sense of awe that this part of the British Isles inspires in so many people. Neither does it do justice to the simple pleasure of finding a fossil, gazing at it and realising that you are the first living creature in 180 million years to set eyes upon the petrified remains of what was once another inhabitant of our planet.
Then a book is published, a book that provides a sense of the stunning natural landscape, a book that transports the reader back in time, a book that conveys the sense of excitement and achievement associated with fossil collecting – “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast” – does all this and more.
Drawing on their detailed knowledge of fossil collecting, Craig and Steve describe what to look for and where to find an array of fossil specimens along this part of the “Jurassic Coast”. The landscape is vividly portrayed and the book provides a handy, rucksack-sized reference for fossil collectors, whether seasoned professionals or first time visitors to Dorset. The Book is Filled with Stunning Photographs of Fossil Discoveries.
Talented palaeoartist Andreas Kurpisz provides readers with digital reconstructions of ancient environments and brings to life the fossil specimens, showing them as living creatures interacting with other prehistoric animals in a series of Jurassic landscapes and seascapes. These reconstructions help to document the changing environments that are now preserved within the imposing cliffs of this remarkable part of the British coastline.
FOREWORD BY THE AUTHORS
1. INTRODUCING THE JURASSIC COAST: A World Heritage Site
The Eroding Coast
The Protected Coast: The West Dorset Code of Conduct
2. SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS: Mary Anning and Her Legacy
3. THE WEST DORSET SUCCESSION
4. TOOLS, EQUIPMENT & PREPARATION
5. FOSSIL COLLECTING EXCURSIONS IN WEST DORSET
EXCURSIONS AROUND LYME REGIS
Blue Lias Formation: Pinhay Bay, Chippel Bay, Monmouth Beach & Church Cliffs
Charmouth Mudstone Formation: The Spittals & Black Ven
EXCURSIONS AROUND CHARMOUTH
Charmouth Mudstone Formation: East Beach, Stonebarrow & Broom Cliff
EXCURSIONS AT SEATOWN
Charmouth Mudstone Formation: Golden Cap & Ridge Cliff
EXCURSIONS AROUND EYPE
Dyrham Formation: East Ebb Cove, Thorncombe Beacon to
Dyrham Formation: Eype Mouth to Watton Cliff
EXCURSIONS AROUND BURTON BRADSTOCK
Inferior Oolite Group: East Cliff, West Bay to Burton Cliff
& Cliff End, Burton Bradstock
6. MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Charmouth Heritage Centre
Lyme Regis Museum
Dinosaurland, Lyme Regis
8. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
9. INDEX OF FOSSILS ILLUSTRATED
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