Fossil hunting in Hartlepool

As I’ve been hunting for shells and other wildlife on the beach at Seaton Carew, I’ve also been coming across fossils. I admit that I didn’t even recognise them as fossils until I came across a picture in the Pebble Spotters Guide and started to look for more. I don’t want to put these in the main gallery, as that’s not really what iSpot is for, but I wanted to show some examples of what you can find, even in a place that’s not renowned for fossils. It’s added an extra dimension to my ‘nature walks’, so perhaps others might enjoy this too? It also gives a glimpse into what the world was like all those millions of years ago.

All are beach pebbles, please don’t go hammering into cliff faces! Ours are Carboniferous period, what you find will vary according to the area’s geology (another fascinating topic.)

Fossil siphonodendron corals:



Tree fern stem:

Stigmaria (trace fossils of giant club moss roots):

Dibunophyllum fossils (Frosterley Marble);

Lithostrotion coral;

Fossil shell fragments:

Orthocone (an early type of nautilus):

Actinocyathus floriformus coral:

Some other iSpot fossil obs here:

Good resources for ID:

There are already quite a lot of fossils on ispot as normal observations, if you want to see some of them there are several ways but one option is to go to the ‘explore community’ tab select ‘gallery’ then click on the ‘filter community observations’ go down to the ‘filter by tag’ box and type in fossil
it may wait a while but then show you loads of fossil observations.

So basically you can add these as normal observations, make sure each one is a separate observation. It may be a bit tricky to find a suitable name so may have to choose from higher up in the taxonomic tree rather than the exact species.

I see you have already found some of the ispot fossil observations and given some interesting links to UK fossil sites, thanks for that.

Fossils are fab, Emma and I was just looking for the project Mike set up and refers to. It has a list of all the fossil tags collected here:

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Wonderful ‘finds’!
That bit of coastline is surprisingly good for wildlife as well, of course. I used to find lots of Phylloceras heterophyllum fossils around Redcar:
but I never managed to find a mammoth tooth, said to be fairly commonly washed up.
An aside: a friend worked for a company that had a quarry near Bishop Middleham, and once had the task of taking an aurochs skull they’d unearthed to a local museum. He had to put it on the back seat of his car, with a horn sticking out the window…


Auroch Skull. Here’s the link.

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Thanks Mike - I wasn’t sure about adding them as observations given that they are not extant taxa in this area, I didn’t want to cause any confusion on distribution maps :smile:

Great, thank you for the link :+1:

That must have been a sight :joy:
I think I found a bit of one of those phylloceras but it was very battered so impossible to get a certain ID:

Is that an auroch? Very impressive!