A casual glance might identify this as a photograph of an attractive and highly decorative brooch. But look again. It is, in fact, a seashell to which fossilised growth of various kinds has become attached. It was found when we were walking along a beach in Morocco.
The first two photos are of the same shell, or, rather, of several shells welded together by time – almost fossilised. I have shown the inside and outside to give some indication of the layers of shell. At the same time the pictures create interesting natural abstract patterns.
At low tide the Deben estuary exposes mud flats comprised of London Clay. The flats are a favourite haunt for fossil hunters. Sieving through the clay will regularly produce bird and fish remains, vertebrae, small sharks’ teeth and also fossil wood.
From the flats shingle banks rise steeply, the top representing the high water mark. Along this tide line there is a belt, often several metres wide, containing an abundance of seashells – as can be seen below.