The Soom Shale Homepage


Lagerstätten are sites of exceptional preservation of fossils and only a few tens are known worldwide through the entire geological record.  The Soom Shale Lagerstätte was recognised in 1991 by Professor Richard Aldridge (Leicester) and Dr Hannes Theron (Stellenbosch) and until 2006 was the only major Lagerstätte known from the Ordovician Period of geological history.  It is of major global scientific significance, and contains exceptionally preserved arthropods, molluscs, brachiopods, vertebrates and enigmatic organisms.

Our team has been working on the Soom Shale since 1990.  Fossils are not common, and it takes long periods in the field to build up collections.  Several forms are still only known from single specimens and others only from small numbers of incomplete specimens.  We build up our understanding of the biota by accumulating specimens until we have enough information on particular taxa to merit publication.

Useful links

University of Bristol Soom Shale website:

The Palaeontological Association:

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