When you find an odd-shaped rock near the site where an ancient dinosaur fossil was recently discovered, you might want to take a chance at finding out more about it. And taking chances was what 21-year-old stonemason Archie Faiers did.
Archie was walking with the family dog when he chanced upon a weird-looking rock near the English coastal town of Lyme Regis. It was bigger than a football and he thought it was something no one would be willing to take home. But Faiers gambled on it and decided to carry the heavy rock.
Faiers' efforts paid off because what he found was a fossil-bearing rock.
It only took him 15 minutes to find this fossil.
Faiers, who is an award-winning stonemason, didn’t mind having to take home the gigantic rock as he was hopeful that it might contain a fossil. And boy was he right.
The fossil could be valued between £500 and £1,000 or around $700-$1,400.
The spot where Faiers found the boulder was just meters away from the site where a professional fossil hunter found a sea dragon or an ichthyosaur fossil. This discovery was then featured on David Attenborough’s show on BBC One. Faiers had a hunch and he followed it. He told WMN:
“I knew we were close to the spot where the TV fossil was found. There had been an overnight cliff fall and I spotted a rounded rock on the beach and I knew that these rocks are the ones that could have a fossil inside.”
An ichthyosaur fossil was recently discovered and featured on Attenborough's program.
After watching the show, Faiers was inspired to go on a fossil hunt.
Upon taking back the rock, he soon discovered that it contained an ammonite.
“When I got back, I started to chip away at the outside off the rock and soon realized that there was an ammonite inside – but I am using my traditional stone mason tools in preparing it. I really need much finer tools, so things are on hold at the moment.”
Archie’s find was a fossil of a Microderoceras birchi, a typical ammonite found along the Jurassic coast. They were cephalopods with shells and were named by Alpheus Hyatt in 1871.
Squids, cuttlefish and octopus are ammonites' nearest living relatives.
Faiers has his own workshop where he carves different gorgeous architectural designs. He participated in 2017’s World Skills competition in Abu Dabhi, representing British stonemasonry. He won a silver medal for his skills.
He may have been lucky with his first dig, but from the looks of it, he won’t be stopping carving and designing since he said he really isn’t a fossil collector.
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