INTRODUCTION

 

HISTORY

Beecher's Trilobite Bed is located in Cleveland's Glen, NY outside of Rome and is a classic example of a Konservat-Lagerstätten, or preservational mother load of fossils. The bed was deposited following a small underwater landslide (microturbidite) during the last phases of the Taconic Orogeny (collisional mountain building episode) that occured in the Upper Ordovician (approximately 445 million years ago). The 4 cm Bed is characterized by the abundance of pyritized trilobites occuring within the surrounding shale.

Discovered in 1892 by William S. Valiant, the site was first excavated between 1893 and 1895 by the Bed's namesake, Charles Emerson Beecher of Yale University. Beecher published two papers using specimens from within the Bed but died unexpectedly in 1904 rendering much of his unprepared material, and, more importantly, the exact location of the Bed, lost indefinitely.

In the ensuing years, several papers were published using Beecher's materials (for a list click here), but the location of the source bed remained a mystery. It wasn't until 1984 that experienced fossil collectors Tom Whiteley and Dan Cooper were able to rediscover the Bed, paving the way for a major excavation in 1989.

Specimens used in this study came from the 1989 dig and were meticulously prepared by Tom Whiteley.

 

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