Ashfall Park Hosts Fossil, Artifact Identification Day

Ashfall Park Hosts Fossil, Artifact Identification Day

ROYAL – Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park is holding their annual Fossil and Artifact Identification Day at the park on Saturday, August 12th. The public has the opportunity to have experts check out their unidentified finds.

Ashfall park superintendent, Rick Otto, said that with Nebraska’s diverse pre-historic past, many people have some form of unidentified ancient fossil or artifact in their possession. Every year this event draws visitors, some with several pieces to be identified. With mammoth fossils found in most counties in Nebraska, Otto said they see a lot of mammoth bones, but some of Nebraska’s other pre-historic fauna make appearances as well.

“We also see teeth and bones from large fossil horses that lived during the ice age, from camels, some of which were giant camels, that lived during the ice age,” Otto said.

Experts will speak to each person who brings in an item. Professor emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ashfall fossil beds’ discoverer, Mike Voorhies, will be joined by Rob Bozell, Highway Archeology Program manager at the Nebraska State Historical Society. Otto said the identifications process is reminiscent of “Antiques Roadshow.”

“They have a table set up and when visitors come in they bring the items over to them and they will take a look at them, possibly show them examples of other similar items that we have in our collection,” Otto said.

The event is open to the public, but an entrance fee of $7 per person and a Nebraska State Park entry permit is needed. Otto said that with students still working in the fossil beds to continue to uncover the animals that were covered in ash from a supervolcanic eruption 12 million years ago.

“We have a couple of college students that will be able to stay later in the season than usual so we’ll still have excavation taking place,” Otto said.

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park will close for the season October 9th.

For more information on this and other area events, visit the Events Calendar page on

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