RAMM’s geology collection includes over 40,000 fossils, rocks and minerals. They are evidence of changes to Devon’s landscape over the past 490 million years. RAMM’s meteorite is 4.5 billion years old. It is a relic of the early days of our planet. Ichthyosaur skeletons represent a time when large reptiles swam in the oceans. Mammoth tusks are remains of the last Ice Age when most of today’s familiar landscape features developed. Visit RAMM’s Down to Earth gallery or explore the collections at home using Collections Explorer.
Access to the geology collection
Visit RAMM to see the wide range of geological specimens on display. Yet due the size of the collection it is not possible to display it all at once. If you wish to view a stored collection for research please contact RAMM’s Collections Officer. Or browse on Collections Explorer.
RAMM’s extensive collection of fossils tells an exciting story of life and evolution in Devon. Devonian plants and Triassic reptiles, Jurassic fish and Cretaceous sea urchins, Tertiary leaves and Ice Age Mammal remains. Together they make RAMM’s fossil collection a unique archive of ancient life excavated from local grounds. RAMM also has fossils from all over the world putting the local collections into their global context. Particular strengths:
- Ice Age creatures – It’s hard to believe that 100,000 years ago cave bear, hyaena, elephant, bison and hippo were once alive in England. Kent’s Cavern, Torquay is one of the most informative and important caves in the country. Honiton is famous for the hippo remains found while the first bypass was built in 1965.
- The Otter Sandstone is an internationally important source of Triassic fossils. These rich red rocks are 245 – 235 million years old and form some areas of the exposed red cliffs around Sidmouth and Ladram bay. RAMM has some exciting fossils from the Otter Sandstone.
- The Jurassic Coast is just a stone’s throw away from RAMM. The collection reflects the wide range of fossils found in the Jurassic cliffs in South Devon and Dorset. Small delicate shark teeth, ammonites of the size of a cart-wheel and fossilised tree stems are just some of the fascinating finds. The highlights however are stunning skeletons of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, swimming marine reptiles that ruled the oceans during the Lower Jurassic.
Rocks and Minerals
RAMM holds a comprehensive collection of local rocks and minerals that reflect the geological diversity of Devon. They draw us a picture of the county as we have never seen it before: a terrain covered by ancient tropical reefs or vast desert dunes, an area disturbed by sudden rock avalanches or erupting volcanoes.
Devon’s rolling hills, multi-coloured cliffs, narrow gorges and steep valleys tell us a story of an eventful past. Red sandstones, hard granites or grey slates are the main characters in a tale that started about 400 million years ago on the southern hemisphere of the Earth.
The local minerals reflect the long and eventful mining history of the county and Southwest England. Essential metals such as copper and tin to precious silver and gold are part of the region’s heritage. Arsenic was also mined in Devon and Cornwall. The mineral collection also includes specimens from all the world.