The Jurassic Ecosystem Of Strawberry Bank Ilminster and its relationship to BRLSI

Beneath the houses of the Somerset town of Ilminster lies a beautifully preserved Jurassic ecosystem. The BRLSI basement in central Bath has become home to hundreds of fossils, excavated from this hidden treasure trove over 150 years ago by the Victorian geologist, Charles Moore, its discoverer.

The fossils from Strawberry Bank are quite spectacular, with unusual evidence of soft tissue such as muscles, guts, and traces of skin preserved  in exceptional detail and revealing anatomical features not usually seen.

Recently, for the first time since their discovery these fascinating extinct creatures – marine reptiles, fish, crustaceans, squid-like cephalopods, and insects – were intensively studied. The Jurassic Ecosystem of Strawberry Bank Ilminster (JESBI) project was a three year collaboration between Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution and the Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Group (University of Bristol).

Although the Strawberry Bank Excavation is now complete, research into the Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte is continuing and watch this space for further news of the site!

In the meantime, don’t miss BRLSI’s current exhibition Jurassic Ark to find out more about both the history of Strawberry Bank and the fascinating story of Charles Moore and his relationship to BRLSI.


Our curator Matt Williams talks to you from a secret location in deepest darkest Somerset, and let’s you have a behind the scenes look at what exactly a geological excavation looks like.  


Fossil Squid Ink


Dr Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol has visited to sample 183 million year old squid ink from our fossil collection.

JESBI project at “Bristol Rocks!”


Geology is taking over Bristol City Museum on Sunday 16th February 2014 with a family event day featuring talks, trails, kids’ activities, handling specimens, and local geology groups. The BRLSI’s JESBI project will be there.