A race against time to reveal our ancient past.
The team from the Natural History Museum has just three days to excavate1
this unique site.
The Cotswold quarry2
holds a treasure trove3
of sea creatures that lived during the Jurassic period. What's here is so extraordinary, the location is being kept secret.
Tim Ewin, palaeontologist, London's Natural History Museum
We've got another really nice exceptional specimen4
here. It's actually a brittle5
star. It's likely to be a new species. It's the quality of preservation6
. It's the number of fossils that we're finding. But it's also the diversity – it's really unprecedented7
in geological sites of this age across the world.
This area was once covered by a shallow tropical sea – living there were animals like starfish, sea urchins8
, brittle stars and sea cucumbers.
The site was discovered by local fossil hobbyists Nev and Sally. But at first, the quarry didn't look too promising9
Sally Hollingworth, amateur fossil hunter
We were finding very small fragments of like plates of sea urchins. Just tiny, tiny fragments, though. Nothing really spectacular. When we got it home and cleaned it up, he was like ‘Oh my God, Sally, you've got to come and see this...' And there's this beautiful Jurassic sea creature coming to life.
With so many fossils here, the challenge is working out which ones to keep. The very best are now heading to the Natural History Museum. The team says it's the discovery of a lifetime.