The Everything Dinosaur Trilobite Excursion

Finally, the day arrived when we could set off to Wales in order to explore a quarry which was rich in trilobite fossils.  This was the first time that we had visited this location and we were not to be disappointed.  The location in Powys, is actually a private quarry and permission must be granted by the owner before we could visit.  After booking into a delightful local Bed and Breakfast establishment that evening, we awoke refreshed and ready to go on our long awaited Trilobite hunt.

Trilobite Fossil Hunt

Fortified by an English (should that be Welsh) cooked breakfast, we set off to drive the short distance to the quarry.  Having found our way to the site and parked the van, our first challenge was to negotiate the curious sheep that quickly gathered to investigate us.

Curious Welsh Sheep Come to Say Hello

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Unfortunately, we discovered that the large plastic bucket that we use to carry our tools in – geological hammer, chisels, a plastic sheet for sitting on etc. must have been the same size and shape as the bucket that the sheep get fed out of.  They thought the Everything Dinosaur team members were about to provide them with lunch.

Once over the gate and passed the by now very disappointed sheep, we made our way to the actual fossil site.  We had been advised that trilobite remains, particularly Ogyginus genera were superabundant and soon we all had found various specimens.  Fossils of cast pygidium were particularly common

There was no need to split many of the rocks, although splitting those amongst the scree slope proved relatively easy – just a case of striking the rock with the head end of our geological hammer at the right angle.  We even found one or two examples of trinucleid trilobites, easily distinguished by their over-sized cephalons.  The shales had layers of ash that were prominent in some places of the quarry, betraying this marine environment’s volcanic history – things have changed a lot since the Ordovician.

The Trilobite Site (Tile Quarry)

Searching for trilobites in Wales.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Trilobite Fossils

Gloves proved very handy (no pun intended), the rocks have sharp edges and the wearing of gloves avoids cut fingers and scratches.  After a couple of hours of searching we settled down to our picnic lunch, admiring the wonderful views of the Welsh countryside as we did so.  There were no Red Kites to be seen (we had been told to look out for them), but the boggy ground seemed to be home to a number of newts that we were careful leave in peace.

A Selection of our Trilobite Finds

A selection of our trilobite fossils.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows some of our finds, the ruler and twenty-pence piece provide scale.

After a bit more searching and one or two rain showers, we decided to call it a day, we had a review of our finds on site took some more photographs and then packed up, making sure that we left no litter.  A most enjoyable day, rounded off by a visit to a superb Thai restaurant and then a bit of bat watching as we wandered back to the bed and breakfast accommodation.

Our thanks to Pete Lawrence for the pointers,  over the next few days we will sort through the fossils that we brought back and put some on display in our warehouse display cases.

We had been lucky with the weather, although we had dressed as if we were going up the north face of the Eiger (be prepared is our motto, as there is no shelter in the quarry), we only had one or two light showers to contend with.  On the way back we stopped to take a picture of the beautiful bluebells growing in profusion further down the hill.

The Wonderful Welsh Scenery

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows the very pretty bluebells that were in full flower, lower down the slopes.  This picture enabled us to use some of our newly learnt skills as we experiment with CS5 Photoshop.  There was an ugly telegraph pole in this photograph and we at first struggled to remove it from our picture, however this is how we resolved that particular problem.

1).  Changed status of background layer (layer_1) so that we could manipulate image

2).  Roughly highlighted offending pole using the pen tool (any selection tool would have done).

3).  When selection selected, right click – fill – then in the drop down box click on content aware, press return and hey presto the object disappears and the background is cleverly filled in around the object.

For models and replicas of trilobites and other Palaeozoic creatures: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models and Replicas.