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We hold around 400,000 specimens in our geology collection - mostly fossils, but also minerals, rock samples, building materials and some worked decorative stone.
The strengths of the collection are:
- Minerals of the Mendips and south west England.
- Triassic fossils of the Severn estuary area.
- Mesozoic marine reptiles.
- Carboniferous Limestone corals.
- Plants and arthropods from coal measures.
- Jurassic invertebrates.
- Pleistocene mammals from cave sites and gravel deposits.
The mineral gallery displays specimens of all minerals that a student might need to see, derived from sources throughout the world, with special emphasis on local specialities such as celestine.
The Earth through geological time is a presentation of 4.5 billion years of history, arranged stratigraphically and richly illustrated by specimens of representative rocks and fossils.
The sea dragons gallery shows specimens of large carnivorous marine reptiles from the Jurassic Period, several of them unique to Bristol's collection.
We hold a large collection of rocks, fossils and minerals in store. See the related documents section for further information about these collections.
If you have an enquiry, or would like to view the Geology Stores at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, please contact:
Geology Collections Officer
Tel: 0117 922 3592
The Avon RIGS Group - preserving our geological heritage
The geology of the area around Bristol and Bath is very varied and is of historical importance. Rocks from the early Ordovician Period to the middle Jurassic Period are exposed, as well as Pleistocene caves and gravels and a wealth of minerals and fossils. The places where this heritage could be seen have been disappearing through building, infilling old quarries and cuttings and through neglect.
Avon RIGS Group is a voluntary organisation drawn from members of local geological societies, museums, universities and local authorities. It reviews geological and geomorphological sites, designates those that are considered worth preserving and notifies them to the local authorities for incorporation into their Local Plans. The former County of Avon is now the area covered by the Unitary Authorities of Bath & NE Somerset, the City of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Natural exposures like river cliffs, gorges, caves and parts of the coastline quarries, mines, road and railway cuttings landscape features localities that are associated with the early history of geological science.