Durham Mine Dig

making a plan

In appreciation of our “letting him tag-along” on the last “Big Dig” to the Lagrange Clear Crystal Mine, Jeff Deere invited us to come dig with his group. Thanks Jeff! They were planning to dig for plant and fern fossils at the Durham Mine in Northwest Georgia. The Durham Mine is an old coal mine. There are many large dump piles scattered throughout the property. Inside these piles are layers of fossiliferous shale. There are diverse botanical fossils pressed inside these layers.

monte and michelle

All the week before, we had been hearing that the weather was going to be nothing short of Arctic. Well, for once, the weatherman was right. It was a 14 degrees when we left and had warmed up to a whopping 20 degrees by the time we arrived at the mine! We looked like two sumo bundles of fleece with Cheshire grins as we waddled down into the ravine.

getting started

Everyone picked a spot in the side of the hill and started digging. It was a new experience for us having to dig through a foot or more of frozen soil.

jose and monte

We had the privilege of digging with Jose Santamaria, the Executive Director of the Weinman Mineral Museum in Cartersville, GA, and Cantey Smith, their new Director of Education. Jose had an expansive knowledge of the fossils found at this site.


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