Saturday, 27 December 2014

Best two collections

I have been collecting since i was little, my family used to call me a 'magpie'. When we went shopping in town, i used to come home with more money then I went with, but these following are my favourite, along with their stories.

The first is a rock

But this is no ordinary rock. No. Its a fishing weight. But it is no ordinary fishing weight. No. Its from the prehistoric period.

I found it two years ago at my favourite place, Cockerham. It was washed up amongst some other rocks and seaweed. At first I only picked it up because it was discus shape and I was going to throw it. But then I noticed it had a ammonite -a fossil of an instinct marine invertebrate- in the centre with four blue lines coming off it, like ribbon on a present. That fossil confirmed that i was going to keep it. I didn't know it was a fishing weight, but a year later when I came across it, I did some research to look further into the markings which embedded into the rock.

I only looked into it because the markings were too symmetrical to be natural erosion, but I'm glad I did! I didn't know what period in time it was from though the fact that the ammonite is in the rock means the rock must have been formed sometime during the cretaceous period, and therefore it must have been used as a weight sometime after that, but long enough ago so that erosion could occur as the rock is smooth (some geology thrown in their for you). And with the help of Ben Driver aka @blicklingben on twitter. It is t from the roman era as their fishing weights have holes through them for the rope.

My second favourite finding

It is an unfortunate end for an amazing seabird, the Gannet. Again i found it at Cockerham. The bird had unfortunately died and had washed up on the north west coast. There aren't many gannets around here as there are no cliffs for them, so my only thought was, is that it had died at sea and been washed in because of the tides and currents.

Gannet from Belgium

I was on a holiday up there and was on a beachcomb at the time. I saw a mass of white feathers and thought it was a gull, so I went over for a better look. I couldn't believe what it was, as I said you don't see any around. As bad as it sounds, I couldn't believe my luck. I had only just started collecting for osteology and had about four skulls, so I thought I couldn't pass this up.

Cutting the story short, I cleaned it up and put its beak sheaths back on. It looks really smart now and its cranium structure is absolutely amazing. The gannet can be admired by the fantastic speeds and ranges it can reach from diving for fish. However diving at those ranges could do some damage to a normal skull, but the gannets cranium just shows how it manages to cope. The skull has a thick piece of bone at the top of the beak to spread the force of impact. This skull truly shows the Gannets amazing evolution and anatomy structure. I found it back in 2012, so not long ago, but in the mean time i have managed to collect and study the anatomy of unusual birds. I will tell of those another day.


  1. A brilliant read Sophie. I enjoyed all of it but the story behind the fishing weight was really interesting. Just think , You are the 1st person to have handled that since it's last use.......pre-history!

    1. Thanks Lee. I know, who knows how long it's been thrashing around in the sea, and where it came from. It's amazing to think what it last caught.