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Max-fossils

Fossil Hunting in the Pas-de-Calais

 

So last week was a lot of fun for me. Saturday afternoon we left home to go to northern France, the Pas-de-Calais. We first stopped in Belgium to visit some family, so we only arrived at our B&B near Wissant in the late Sunday afternoon. Our main goal was to go to that region in order to do, obviously, fossil-hunting! And that is what we did. I gotta say that I was (pleasantly) surprised with how things ended up! Read on to see what we found...

 

Day 1: Wissant

The evening of our arrival we were walking in the small city of Wissant, which lies in between the two famous Caps: Cap-Blanc-Nez (to the north) and Cap-Gris-Nez (to the south). Therefore it is a popular place for visitors to stay during the holidays, as it is ideally placed in between the two main touristic sites of the area. We had a really nice Bed & Breakfast on the outskirts of the city, so that was good too. Anyways, so we were walking the city to try and find a restaurant for the evening. At some point, I come across this small area where there is very dry mud/sand-like sediment, in the middle of the city. I look inside and there are lots of bones and jaws from different critters! Also a few shells. Although everything was in matrix, I still suspect that the things are modern (in the sense of 'non-fossil'. I'd say it still is a few hundreds of years old.), mainly because the bones are from sheep, cow and the shells are from edible species. So probably remnants of some primitive food-left-overs junk pile or something. There were also deer bones too (roe?), not as sure as to how that got there. Anyways, even though the bones are probably modern, still cool finds IMO! :) 

 

Total haul

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Max-fossils

Sheep (?) jaw

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Deer (roe?) jaw

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Max-fossils

Cow (?) hoof

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Buccinum undatum

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Max-fossils

Day 2: Cap-Blanc-Nez

 

The next morning we woke up to go to the world-famous Cap-Blanc-Nez. The fossils here are mainly Cretaceous, from the Turonian and Cenomanian stages. It was a little colder than we expected, especially due to the wind, but that didn't stop us. We took our equipment to the beach and started looking for fossils near the beautiful white chalk cliffs. 

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Shell imprint on a chalk block

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Big ammonite emerging from the sediments (unfortunately too big for amateurs like us to extract...)

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Max-fossils

Unfortunately, although it's meant to be the site that would reveal the most fossils, we were rather disappointed... 

Here is our haul of the day:

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On the bottom-left are iron minerals, including pyrite (which came in a variety of nice shapes at this beach, but was never very shiny and gold-like).

On the right some modern shells (that oyster, Ostrea edulis , is much thicker than those from the North Sea.)

Top -left are some shell (pieces) in matrix. Hopefully the one in the bottom-left of the group will be complete, I'll prep it soon.

Then right above the 3-5cm marks on the ruler are two tiny brachiopods. They're prepped now, I'll put the photos of the prepped specimens in this thread later.

The rest are unknowns (half are probably not even fossil). 

 

So yeah, a rather meek haul, with nothing really interesting. I was hoping to find some Inoceramus shells (which normally are common at this location) or some nice ammonites, or anything remotely interesting, but apart from the two brachiopods nothing... :( 

Rather disappointing for a location with such fame. But we later heard that this beach is getting over-searched by fossil hunters, and that therefore the amount of fossil finds is decreasing rapidly. Also, good finds are usually made after repeated searches, and don't happen at every hunt, which also made the chance of finding something cool in just one morning much smaller. 

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Carl Garner

Hey how do I post on the group forum ? New to the page just after a little bit of help. Thanks 

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Max-fossils

The first brachiopod (this one looks nice prepped, so that's good :))

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And the other one

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The two brachiopods were found by splitting open the grey rocks on the beach (not the typical chalky white rocks), which seemed more like clay to me. So I'm wondering if maybe the brachs aren't Jurassic?

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1 minute ago, Carl Garner said:

Hey how do I post on the group forum ? New to the page just after a little bit of help. Thanks 

What do you mean by 'group forum'?

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Carl Garner

Lol, just to the main page I don't know. Is there a group on here where you can ask for details on fossils etc etc ?

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Max-fossils

I'm wondering if this isn't one of the sponges @gigantoraptor was talking about? Maybe just a weird pebble. IMG_7925.thumb.JPG.fcc13f8bb585ee651b4b9cfa9f5af81d.JPG

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Max-fossils
Just now, Carl Garner said:

Lol, just to the main page I don't know. Is there a group on here where you can ask for details on fossils etc etc ?

If you go completely to the top left, just click on the thing that says "The Fossil Forum" in big font. Will ring you to the home page.

 

Welcome to TFF btw.

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Max-fossils

In the afternoon, after a good lunch, we went back to Cap-Blanc-Nez, but rather to do a small hike in order to admire the view from atop the high cliffs. Needless to say it was breathtaking (the pictures don't do it justice):faint:

 

There's a big obelisk at the top of it, which is to commemorate the Allied soldiers dead during WWI. It was destroyed by the Germans during WWII, but then rebuilt in the 60's and renovated in 2007. 

 

 

 

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The remnants of a German bunker facing the sea. 

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Then in the evening the sun set on a field of cows, which allowed for a nice view again (but also blurry photos). 

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Day 3: Cap-Gris-Nez - Wimereux

                             A) Cap-Gris-Nez

 

The following morning it was time to go south and visit Cap-Gris-Nez. This time we started by going atop the cliffs first, and later go on the beach. Again the view was amazing. There were lots of sheep grazing. Normally from here, you can see the British coast easily (as it is the point where France is closest to England), but unfortunately, there was a layer of mist on the horizon which prevented us from seeing very far, so we didn't see it. 

 

 

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jpc

Fun trip.  Your cow hoof from your first stop looks like a horse hoof.  Edible?... well, this is France.  (I say that because I like horse meat).  

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Max-fossils

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Afterwards, we went down onto the beach of Cap-Gris-Nez. The temperature was much nicer than the previous day, which made it possible for us to hunt in t-shirts without getting cold. 

 

The view to the right, facing Wissant and the Cap-Blanc-Nez (which happens to be just cut out of the photo)

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