Regardless of your age, do you ever have one of those days when you feel old? I’ve got good news for you that doesn’t involve discovering the fountain of youth or expensive skin creams. Argan oil is fantastic. Oil of Olay smooths the skin. They will make you look and feel younger. But when it comes to old age, the fossils that are the remains of the creatures that lived in an ocean 380 million years ago near the edges of the Sahara are old beyond our understanding of age. Whether you're 30, 50, or 70, that is far younger than 380 million years old. That's the age of an ancient ocean bed in Erfoud, Morocco on the edge of the Sahara.
You will never feel old ever again when you visit Erfoud and look at the slabs of fossils taken from nearby fossil fields. Considering that Morocco is identified as a dry country and associated with Saharan environments, you may not realise that millions years ago the floor of the barren landscape we see now as the Sahara was the ocean floor of a primordial ocean teeming with life, such as crustaceans and squid.
Fossils from a 380 million year old ancient ocean bed
SLIDESHOW: Click arrows on the left & right sides to view more fossils in their original state
There are so many fossils that an entire industry has emerged that uses the slabs of fossils that are both machine cut and prepared by hand to manufacture tables, fountains, and decorative pieces that reflect the incredible bounty of fossils in this area. This is not a case of a colonial power exploiting the riches of Moroccon fossils and destroying the mother lode of fossils from the ancient ocean floor. The removal and manufacture of goods is managed by a palaeontologist and the government regulates the number of slabs that can be cut.
Fossils crafted into tables , fountains and decorative pieces
Undoubtedly, there will be unscrupulous people who will work to circumvent these regulations. But the amount of regulated fossils is phenomenal. There’s an ancient ocean bed of fossils waiting to be mined. It’s not like there are a few precious dinosaur footprints. It shows the abundance of life in the ancient ocean.
Discovering the hidden treasures of an ancient ocean
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The sheer amount and exquisite beauty of the fossils is astounding. We expected a small collection of rare fossils that would be housed in a museum with limited access. What we discovered was an almost endless collection of fossils. Before you say how that is a form of archeological theft, take a look at the slabs of fossils recovered from the ocean bed. There is all manner of sea creatures embedded in the slabs.
Remember, it is government sanctioned and geologists prevent the wholesale removal of fossils, although you may consider the amount of fossils removed already to be on a wholesale level. There are styles of tables, fountains and ornaments to suit everyone’s tastes. Even if these objects do not suit your style, you will marvel, nonetheless, at the endless variety of fossils. But it remains sustainable. It’s an entire ocean bed of fossils.
It’s a case of keeping the fossils in the ancient ocean beds while mining them as well.
Fossils, fossils & more fossils from Erfoud, Morocco. The supply of fossils has been 380 million years in the making. How well do you know your fossils?
Thanks to Manar Marble, Erfoud Morocco for access to their source of fossils & artisan products
Erfoud & the festival of dates
Rad Morocco explains the importance of dates to Moroccan families and Moroccan culture
Dates are an essential part of a Moroccan household’s pantry. Dates are mixed to a paste and used in place of sugar. Date palms were devastated by fire and Bayoud disease that has been managed and is now under control. And the dates are delicious. Every year in Erfoud there is a celebration of dates during the festival of dates.
This region in the heart of Tafilalet, rich in dates, celebrates the harvest of this ancestral fruit in October of each year. This festival of the farmers of Erfoud has been transformed in recent years into an annual trade show visited by Moroccans and foreigners. The festival is usually held during the third week of October depending on the harvest, combining sales and exhibitions with singing and dancing shows.
from The Dates Festival in Erfoud, Visit Drâa Trafilalet