Stonemason’s fossil find inspired by Sir David Attenborough

fossil find archie
Archie Stoke-Faiers was inspired by Sir David Attenborough in finding this huge fossil. Photos by Richard Austin

SIR David Attenborough’s recent foray into fossils along the Jurassic Coast has inspired one young man to keep his eyes open and alert when walking beneath the cliffs. 

Some fossil hunters spend a lifetime looking for a treasure like the one Lyme Regis stonemason Archie Stoke-Faiers found, and it only took him 15 minutes.

Archie, aged 21, the UK’s top young architectural stone mason, is still thanking his lucky stars after a major fossil find whilst out walking his dogs.

The former Woodroffe School student from Uplyme was walking between Seaton and Lyme Regis, just yards from where Sir David Attenborough filmed the recovery of a large ichthyosaur broadcast two weeks ago on BBC 1’s ‘Attenborough and the Sea Dragon’.

Archie said he was inspired by the programme featuring Sir David and kept his eye on the recent mud fall as they walked along the beach.

He added: “I knew we were close to the spot where the TV fossil was found, there had been an overnight cliff fall and I spotted a rounded rock on the beach and I knew that these rocks are the ones that could have a fossil inside.”

Archie, who runs his own stonemasonry workshop at the Town Mill in Lyme Regis, was exhausted carrying the heavy rock back along the beach into his workshop.

“I started to chip away at the outside off the rock and I soon realised that there was an ammonite inside, I’m using my traditional stone mason tools in preparing it but I need much finer tools so things are on hold at the moment,” he said.

Archie’s ammonite is a 190-million-year-old microderoceras birchi, typical of the ammonites found in that area of the coast.

He added: “I’m not a fossil collector but when I’m on the cliff beaches I just keep my eyes open.”

Sir David Attenborough recently opened an exhibition at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre displaying the ‘Sea Dragon’ discovered by local fossil hunter Chirs Moore, featured in his BBC documentary


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