Earth Lab

The Earth Lab is a place to explore the exciting and varied world of British geology. The gallery area is packed with fascinating fossils, minerals and rocks.

Highlight exhibit: Dorset fossils from the David Harvey Collection.

Earth Lab

The Earth Lab gallery contains more than 2,000 geological and fossil specimens. From teeth and bones and a dinosaur footprint, to shiny minerals and fish captured in rock.

David Harvey's brittle stars and sea lilies

New to the Earth Lab are specimens donated by fossil collector David Harvey. They represent some of the best examples of fossil types found in Dorset, including these brilliant brittle stars (Palaeocoma milleri) and sea lilies (Balanocrinus gracilis), relatives of sea urchins and star fish.

David Harvey's fossil hunting endeavours began when he was a boy, cycling to a variety of sites along Dorset's Jurassic Coast. He collected 300 pieces, some of which you can see in the Earth Lab.

David Harvey fossil

Marvel at the diversity of life captured in this fossil sea bed specimen, one of the new David Harvey pieces in the Earth Lab. Scientists think there are at least 9 types of animal preserved in this block. It dates from about 166 million years ago, when shallow tropical seas covered much of what is now England.

British minerals in the Earth Lab

Discover the variety of minerals and crystals that form naturally in Britain. Compare the different shapes they take, from cubic to needle-like, and see how different elements effect their colour, like the orange iron-stained calcite at the top of this picture.

Access our digital database in the Earth Lab

Explore our user-friendly computer database to compare the specimens on display or to help identify your own finds. You can also access the Earth Lab datasite online at home.