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For the novice fossil seeker
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start met fossiel zoeken

All beginnings are difficult. Even if you want to start a new hobby. 

This page has been started to help new fossil hobbyists. It's not the only site so take a look at other clubs or  fossil sites (for example on the Links page ) .

Reference is made to various documents and books for members to use.


What do you need to know, what knowledge do you need?

Actually...none. Most importantly: interest &  enthusiasm .

Of course, if you want to do more with your collection, you also need to know more, which fossils exist, how do I find a name, how do I prepare. You simply gain that knowledge in practice. It's that simple. Of course you can do that on your own, but it is much more fun (and smarter) to join a club that allows you to use the knowledge of others. For example, from the Wageningen Fossils Working Group . But there are more clubs, possibly one closer to where you live. Have a look at the Links page. Whatever you are going to do, this page will try to help you as much as possible.

Have fun with your new hobby!

What do you need to start looking

Not much at first, but a few items are important for safety:

  • Safety shoes (it really happens that large stones roll down)

  • (Safety) glasses (splinter in heels is very normal and they are sharp!)

  • (Geologists) hammer (buy a good one, which does not give metal splinters when chopping, you will have a lot of fun with a good hammer, choose the right weight: 850 grams is standard)

You can also think of:​

  • Chisel (again: buy a good one)

  • Aluminum foil (for wrapping sometimes brittle finds)

  • (Super) glue  (if a find is too brittle, quick fix)

  • Helmet (often required in quarries)

  • Yellow vest (often mandatory in quarries)

  • Sieve (2 or 5 mm is useful)

Where can you buy this: for example, look under Links , at item stores .

For starting members a backpack with tools is available. With hamers, chissels, helm, gloves, pen and paper.


Where can you search

That's harder. A number of search locations are freely accessible. But permission is required for the really nice locations. You can arrange that yourself, but by joining a club this is often done for you. See for example the previous excursion of the WFW or currently planned .

A special page with search locations is available for WFW members. But there is also a lot to be found on the Paleontica site. Furthermore, old  tour guides help (for WFW members, see what's available in the library ).

And of course you can ask others.  

For example, freely accessible:

  • the Maasvlakte

  • the beach at Cadzand

  • the quarry in Faxe, Denmark

  • Several beaches in Denmark, France, Germany

Also have a look on youtube:​

Help with preparation

After searching, you want to make the finds as beautiful as possible. That is usually necessary. Now, this is best learned by doing. Pick a not nice find and try it. 

If you want to read more beforehand or in the meantime, take a look at (details can be found in the Library ):

  • Practical guide to fossils by Anne Schulp

  • Paleontology course from the WFW

  • Making the preparation area of Ed van der Wal

  • Sanding and polishing by B. Moes

  • Cleaning with KOH from G. Bernard

  • Surface treatment agents from Thomas Billert

  • Der Petrefaktensammler by E. Fraas

  • Handbuch des Fossiliensammlers by E. Richter

Or search the various sites that offer help with this via Links . ​

Also have a look on youtube:


Literature for beginners

For example, look at (details can be found in the Library ):

  • Practical guide to fossils by Anne Schulp

  • Paleontology course from the WFW

  • various Fossil Encyclopedias

  • Introduction identifying the WFW

  • Introduction to fossilization

  • Know about food

  • Introduction to marine micropaleontology

  • Landscape due to weathering and erosion

But of course there is much more to be found on the internet, take a look under Links .

Also have a look on youtube:

Help from others

Of course you can do everything yourself, search, read, prepare and determine. But it's much more fun to do it together with others. Not only to share a hobby and talk about it, but also to learn from each other. The best advice is to join a fossil club near you.

At the WFW you have access to a lot of literature (books to borrow, or articles, presentations and guides to download), you can attend (online) lectures, you can participate in the WhatsApp group and go on various excursions. Take advantage of the knowledge of other members.

2009 Groepsfoto Excursie Eifel.jpg
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