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Trevor

Virginia Teeth Sites

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Trevor

Hello everyone, I am new to this forum. I live in NJ and have been down to Virginia a few times. I have always heard you can find shark teeth down there and I was wondering where some of the land sites are.

Any help would be great! :)

Edited by Survivor

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dshields0111

Hello, here's some info on some fossil sites around the Potomac mainly. I would say that many good Virginia fossil collecting sites have been closed down or greatly restricted in recent years. But like any places, the best time to collect is during the off-summer months + during low tide + sunny days + after storms (usually the 2nd day after a storm). The 1st day after a storm the water is still usually very rough.

Westmoreland Park - not worth going to Westmoreland Park anymore because half the beach they used to have open (up to 2012) to collecting has been closed. Go collecting only during the off-Summer months here. Beach is picked cleaned any other time.

Stratford Hall Plantation (Westmoreland County) - only has a very small portion of the beach open to collecting. Good place to go though during the winter months, very productive site during the winter at low tide.

George Washington Birthplace National Monument (Westmoreland County) - has a long open beach but it's usually unproductive. It's illegal to collect there anyways! I will say that after the hurricane in Summer 2011 the G.W. site had some unbelievable fossils wash up on the beach, more than I've ever seen anywhere. Place was littered with Megs and Makos galore!!! A few locals told me they used to collect there 15 years ago and it was legal.

Caledon State Park (King George County I think) - recently (2012) found about 60 teeth in a 5-hour period but most are small, no teeth larger than 1.25". Since this stuff looks like Paleocene fossils I was expecting to find a few large Otodus teeth, but it didn't happen. They recently (July, 2012) opened up a large stretch of the beach to the public, but the hike to the beach from the parking lot is about 2 miles.

Carter's Wharf (Fones Cliffs) (Richmond County) - this site is along the Rappanhannock River along a public boat landing. Has about 50 yards of open public beach. Unproductive site and not many people search there, but once found 15 small teeth in about 2 hours, which I thought was strange low amount since there are many bone fragments laying around, but not that many sharks teeth.

Purse State Park, Maryland (Charles County, across the Potomac River from Stafford county, VA) - most productive beach I've found if you judge by volume of teeth and fossils alone. Easily one can find 100-200 teeth in a 5-hour period. Mostly small Paleocene stuff though. Must go at low tide or there is very little beach there to search. Many large Otodus teeth have been found here but I've only found 1 and I've been here 5 times.

One thing about Virginia vs Maryland beaches. In Maryland if you are on someones beach "property" below the HIGH TIDE line, it is not considered trespassing, you can tell the land owner to stick it in his ear!!!

In Virginia, if you are along a beach above the low tide line, it is considered trespassing!

Hope that helps!

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Trevor

Thank you so much dshields0111! I never knew there was so many sites in Virginia! I will try to go to one a soon as I can. When the time comes, I will tell you if I find anything.

Thank you :)

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dshields0111

One more site, if your really ambitious. There's a long thin island right off the Virginia shore (in the Potomac River) that has 2 names --> 1. Shark Tooth Island and 2. Hollis Island, both are the same place. It costs $150 bucks to collect on the island, but the permit is for the entire Summer. I've actually never been there because of the price, but I've read it's a really good place to collect. The site is along the same general area as Westmoreland state park and Stratford Hall Plantation. It's about 10 miles further south along the Potomac past Stratford Hall Plantation. It is roughly across the Potomac River from St. Clements Island. You need a boat, as well, to get to the island. Here's the contact number. I'm not sure if the # is current or not, but my old information says the island is owned by the Foxwells (Melvin and Edith: Family that owns the island) --> the l# is 804-472-3416.

Good luck!

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Trevor

Thanks, I have also heard of Shark Tooth Island, but I do not have a boat. Anyway, thanks for the details.

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CrocodileJen

I live in VA and agree that Westmoreland is very picked over. I miss being able to walk under the Stratford Hall cliffs. I found a website that organizes fossilling expeditions, and they get permission to hunt at Stratford Hall! I think that would be very worthwhile. I hope to go on one soon, but haven't yet http://www.fossilandnaturetrips.com/index.html

I started going to Shark Tooth Island this year and it is fun, great for kids, but mostly small teeth or broken pieces.

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CrocodileJen

Also, the Calvert Cliffs in Maryland are supposed to be great. Haven't done that either, but it's on my list...

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Trevor

Hello crocodilejen. Thanks for the site. Also about Calvert Cliffs I went to there a few years back and found NOTHING and my mother got hit with a few rocks and she said it REALLY hurt. I want to go again but do not know any good spots. Do you know anyone who knows like where to look crocodilejen?

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hokiehunter

Hi Survivor, With regards to finding "good spots" you aren't going to find anyone (at least anyone sane) that will respond to that kind of request in an open forum for fear of a "good spot" becoming a trashed and picked over spot virtually instantaneously.

The good news is that with a little work and patience you can find your own good spots. I was a newbie and started a ground zero myself only 3 years ago and I now have a long list of spots I can hit on any given weekend that I can hunt with a good chance of success. Some of these spots are well known and some aren't. For example you mentions the Calvert Cliffs and finding nothing. That wasn't the cliffs fault. It was yours. Either you hunted on a bad tide, too late in the day, hit the wrong beach for a given wind, etc.... On any given day I can now hit a beach on the cliffs and pull a decent tooth almost guaranteed. It is about having the experience to know how to hunt a given spot (sift or beach walk) and when and where to hunt. Spots like Brownies, Flag Ponds, Matoaka, etc... can all be very productive even though they are hunted heavily if you know how and when to hunt them. Only experience will get you to this point though. No one here can tell you on-line how to do it.

Also, in addition to the known public spots you are correct in thinking lesser known spots exist that can be much more productive. These spots do not reveal themselves easily though and you will have to "earn" entrance into those locations. How do you earn entrance you ask? You hunt and hunt regularly. In some cases you will find spots on your own through discovery and trial and error. As I said above some of the known public Cliffs sites are very productive if you know how and where/when to search but only experience reveals this. You will also meet other hunters when you are out and over time build relationships/friendships. Most folks (myself included) would never in a million years tell you about a spot on-line but if you ask them face to face in the field they will spill their guts especially once you get to know someone over 3 or 4 trips.

My suggestion to you and to all new collectors is that if you want to really find the good spots then you have to go "earn it". Put in the time. Meet as many people as you can. Read as much as you can. Be friendly and respectful when you do meet someone. Remember names. Do not be pushy and if you have your own info or success then share it first without them asking. If you give something you are much more likely to get something. Do this and I pretty much guarantee that within a years time you will have your own list of "good spots". One thing I have learned is that fossil collecting isn't a race and that patience (and a little dash of obsessive compulsive disorder) pays. This not only applies to finding the fossils but finding where to find the fossils.

Good luck.

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CrocodileJen

Hello crocodilejen. Thanks for the site. Also about Calvert Cliffs I went to there a few years back and found NOTHING and my mother got hit with a few rocks and she said it REALLY hurt. I want to go again but do not know any good spots. Do you know anyone who knows like where to look crocodilejen?

I am really only familiar with the Westmoreland area in Virginia, sorry. Good luck! Oh, and you can call me Jen.

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Trevor

My name is Trevor. Hello hokiehunter. I know that you have to take time and effort to explore new spots and "earn" them. I wont be going to MD anytime soon so it will be hard for me to explore. I understand that the discloser of spots online is bad and I respect that. Okay thank you for the info.

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