I had never attended a supervised fossil "dig" before. This long weekend provided the time, the place and the opportunity. The weather was perfect, but spending 5 hours bending over in the hot sun might not have been the best idea. I hope I never get too old for this...
This was the Sunday group:
See the experts in the center of the excavated pit,
looking for the good stuff...
And this was my digging spot:
I found several species of horn coral, breaking some out of the shale matrix by hand. I only bashed my finger once. (Once was more than enough.) A few pieces were "weathered out" which meant just noticing them and picking them up: grey fossils on grey rock.
Missing the first day of this event, I suspected that the newly-dug site had been well-picked over by a bigger crowd the day before. If I had had the time and energy to go through one of the large piles of broken shale more thoroughly, I might have found more fossils to add to my collection. As it was, I merely scratched the surface.
For a change of pace I wandered over other parts of the field where I picked up some intact fossilized shells, phosphate nodules, crinoid stems, one small coppery coiled cephalopod (which I accidentally dropped and couldn't find again, even while on my knees looking...) and some pyritized fossil bits which sparkled like gold in the sunshine.
My kind of fun!
I had collected slightly different fossils in an adjoining field some years ago and was just about to revisit the area when I noticed a healthy crop of poison ivy all along the access path through the woods. Nix that idea!
Note to self: wash pants and socks in hot soapy water after I get home.
One of the event assistants gave me a fossil hunting tip as I left: check out the creek for larger specimens. Creek? Now you tell me! So of course I have to go back there, hopefully soon.