Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Walking the Timeline

The year is 2013, and having been frozen-out in January, SAW returns to its familiar second home - Priory Country Park, for a workshop exploring the differences and similarities between archaeology and geology.

First of all we had to give a sense of scale to the times these two studies cover, so everyone became a placeholder for images of significant events in the history of geological and human time...

We start with the Big Bang on the left, oxygen arrives after 2500 million years, and hard-shelled  molluscs arrive in the Cambrian era, after 4100 million years (girl in the bright red anorak). Humans appear with the lady in purple - space travel is stuck on the far right!
Phanerozoic Timechart showing
geological eras from the Cambrian
phase onwards

Many of the young people who attend SAW are intrigued by fossils - which are creatures and plants turned to stone over many millions of years, so we brought along fossils from The Higgins Handling Collection for the young people to identify. Gryphaea, Belemnites and Ammonites are very common shell-fish fossils that can be found locally in Bedfordshire, because about 450 million years ago, 'Bedfordshire' was being formed at the bottom of warm seas.

Holding a Gryphaea - once known as a 'Devil's Toe-nail'!

Sorting out the phone family.

Who on earth designed this dinosaur!?
Making model belemnites.

Some young people were challenged to complete a dinosaur jigsaw - which wasn't as easy as it looked, while others chose to make their own model of an belemnite - you can find more models to make at:
British Geological Survey Puppets.html

We have to thank Alison for delivering a fascinating first session for 2013 - and she's promised to do more in the future!
Plants found in coal fossils.
If you would like to find out more about geology and fossils, you could visit the British Geological Survey website: 

and you can find out more about Bedfordshire geology by going to the Bedfordshire Geology Group website:

According to Alison: 'Rocks rock!'