Littlehampton Museum Display
Spring 2011

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In March to April 2011 the Discovering Fossils team had a display of Chalk fossils at Littlehampton MuseumWest Sussex.  The display was based primarily around the activities of Discovering Fossils and the collections of Roy and Lu Shepherd and the author, but also featured specimens from the collection of prolific Kent collector Keith Little, and material from the collections of Richard Wright, Nigel Manning, and Martin Ellis.  The exhibition sought to promote local interest in fossil collecting, and also to put on display some of the rare and spectacular Chalk fossils that have been unearthed in recent years by the fossil collecting community.


Roy and the author have been avid collectors of Sussex Chalk fossils from an early age, and both having grown-up in the Littlehampton-Worthing area.  Roy's first exhibition of fossils at Litttlehampton Musuem was at age 12, but the Shepherd collection has grown substantially since then.  The Randell and Shepherd collections contain a wide variety of common and scarce Chalk fossils from the quarries and coastal sections of Sussex, as well as many Flint specimens from Sussex beach gravels.



Left: The main display cabinet containing a variety of Chalk ammonites, crustaceans and vertebrates.  Right: A selection of vertebrate remains, including scarce articulated bony fish remains and and rare associations of Ptychodus shark teeth.


Left: Attendees at the exhibition preview view the starfish and regular echinoid display case.  Right: Display case mainly containing bivalves and irregular echinoids, but also sponges, corals, bryozoans, worms, brachiopods and gastropods. 



Left: Regular echinoids and starfish, including many remarkable White Chalk specimens from the Keith Little Collection.  Right: Grey Chalk ammonites from the Randell Collection,  and spectacular Palaeastacus Grey Chalk lobsters from the collections of Richard Wright and Nigel Manning.   
Left:  Crustacean remains, and illustrations of significant Chalk crustacean specimens in a copy of Dixon's The Geology and Fossils of the Tertiary and Cretaceous Formations of Sussex, a book which has provided a constant source of inspiration for Sussex collectors for over 150 years.  Right: Bivalves, brachiopods and irregular echinoids, including many examples of the spiny cockle Spondylus spinosus.     

Display boards around the exhibition explained the formation of Chalk and Flints, as well as describing the common fossils of the Chalk, its biostratigraphy, and some of the important local locations for Chalk fossil collecting.  Beachy Head and Peacehaven have been particularly important sources of specimens in the Randell and Shepherd Collections.       
Left: Harry points out a spelling mistake.  Right:  An example of the septate portion of a large Parapuzosia leptophylla from Peacehaven.  With the head chamber present the shell of this specimen would have been around 4-foot across.