Room 1 – Fossil Room

Room 1: Fossil Room

The first room, known generally as the “Fossil Room” was set up in 1989-90 in anticipation of the centenary of institution of the Priabonian stratotype by Ernest Munier-Chalmas e Albert De Lapparent, two geologists from Paris. The name Priabonian comes from the name of the Italian village of Priabona (in the Municipality of Monte di Malo, Vicenza Province) where the Upper Eocene strata are particularly developed and are of extraordinary international scientific interest. The stratotype represents the rock succession of reference for Europe, and for the Mediterranean in particular, for the time interval corresponding to the Late Eocene between 37 and 34 million years ago. The Fossil Room was set up by the local Priabonian Study Centre (CSP). The study group, which runs the museum today, has obtained the fossils on show from private collections and from local quarries excavating for building materials. The extraordinary wealth of fossils to be found in the area has attracted the attention of geologists right from the 1800’s. Fossils are displayed with the aid of large photographs, illustrations and ingenious viewing devices. Amongst others, the exhibits include nummulites, crabs, gasteropods, fossil fish, sharks’ teeth.

The sequence of exhibits in the room comprises:

1) General introduction to geology and fossils.

2) Illustration of the internal structure of a mountain.

3) The Cretaceous paleoenvironment and current examples of rocks formed in this period of the Mesozoic era.

4) Limestone quarries in Monte di Malo with land and marine fossils displayed in a sequence from the shore to deep sea.

5) The great Bartonian volcanic eruption with formation of the Alpone tectonic trench.

6) The Priabonian stratotype: photos of the founders and some characteristic fossils from the period.

7) Photographs of sites showing Priabonian outcrops.

8) Annotated illustration of the Priabonian paleoenvironment and documentation of a rare flying fish fossil found in Priabona.

9) The Oligocene: characteristic fossils (mainly corals).

10):Siliceous pebbles and fish teeth.

11) Volcanic plugs (or necks): explosive submarine volcanoes and their mineral content.

12) The karst phenomenon in the hills of Monte di Malo, with the Buso della Rana and Poscola caves.

13) Map of the Buso della Rana cave made by Sandro Sedran and the Malo Speleology Group.

14) “Play” viewers for examining tiny exhibits.

15, 17) Some particularly beautiful fossils from the hills around Priabona.

16) Illustrated time scale with examples of rocks and fossils.

18) Fossils from the early and middle Eocene: bivalves, sea urchins, gasteropods.

19) Giant fossils: an oyster and a campanile.

20) How to clean fossils.

21) Large fossil bones from the Oligocene: a dugong or sea cow.

22) Archeology – prehistoric remains in Monte di Malo.

23) Geometric rock carvings on basalt.

24) Illustration of the spiral of geological time, donated by the Geneva Natural History Museum.

25) Poster of dinoflagellate fossils, studied by the Utrecht Palynology Centre.

26) Geological time scale, donated by the Utrecht Palynology Centre.