Jun 7th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Look for World-Class Fossil Dig Sites

After my son-in-law’s mother retired, she wanted me to search for a tour adventure where she could be part of a crew that focused on an archeological dig somewhere in the world.  There are sites that attract senior volunteers  who would like to help unearth relics and historically significant finds. I thought you just might be like her and would like a little help locating some great sites digging for fossils.

Google has a nice listing that may create a spark of interest in an adventure like this. Paleontologists dream of finding something like the elephant graveyard—a place where fossils of everything that lived there are perfectly preserved in complete detail, even fragile things like insects, even microscopic life. It would be like a clear window into the world of the deep past, without the frustrations of dealing with isolated fragments, the way most fossil sites are.

Luckily a few of those “universal graveyards” really exist, and as a class they are called lagerstätten [meaning “(fossil) deposit places” in German]” and  refers to a sedimentary deposit extraordinarily rich in the diversity or quality of preservation of its fossils. Some translate the word to mean “place, of storage [or] resting place”. I have a friend who has found many well-preserved fossils by just walking down gravel roads in Iowa, but you have to have a trained eye to spot them and to know what you are looking for.

Experience the thrill of finding your own fossil trilobites. U-DIG Fossils is a family-run business and anxious for you to have a unique and rewarding experience in their own quarry. They operate a private quarry west of Delta, Utah, that contains one of the world’s richest deposits of trilobites. You can experience the thrill of finding your own fossil trilobites! They say that no trilobite quarry can match the quality of U-DIG Fossils’ trilobite layers! “Bone-Up” a little before you grab your tools and head for Delta with some background on this hobby. Peace River, FL invites seniors to enjoy searching for fossils as you paddle down a river in a canoe.

And then we can not skip New Jersey, Kansas or S. Dakota

Have you ever wanted to search for fossils, but couldn’t travel across the country to get to the “prime” fossil hunting grounds of Wyoming and Utah? Did you know that one of the best fossil hunting sites in eastern North America is in New Jersey? This one looks like a lot of fun and well done too.

The Western Kansas Niobrara Chalk Foundations offers great fossil hunts for seniors. Belle Fourche, SD invites seniors to join a dig group called PaleoAdventures.

How About A One-day Hunt, Seniors

If you have only one day to go on a fossil dig adventure tour, there is a Canadian Fossil Discovery Center in Manitoba that finds seniors excavating 80 million year old finds. Virginia seems to have some good sites to consider and so does South Carolina.

When you become very serious about fossil hunting and would like to investigate some sites in England, Lyme Regis may be just the ticket and not far away is Dorset that is by far the most popular area in the UK to collect fossils.

Bring along some nice knee pads and a good hat

You’ve probably heard of some lagerstätten. One is the Tar Pits of Rancho La Brea, in Los Angeles, where sabertooth cats and many other recently extinct creatures are fossilized by the hundreds. Another is the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies. Europe has several, including the Solnhofen Limestone where the famous dinosaur-bird Archaeopteryx was first found in all its feathered glory. And Australia has the extremely old and strange Precambrian fossils of the Ediacara Hills. All of these and more are represented on the Web, and I’ve built a growing list that brings them together. For Fossil Hunting Sites and Resources in the US there are  many resources on the internet.

Frommers provides interested seniors with dinosaur digging and fossil finding tips. WikiTravel can help you in locating great finds all over the world.  Enjoy the experience.  jeb

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