Petrified Forest in West London

Close to the Thames in West London remains have been found that point to an ancient Petrified Forest.  This despite the predominantly Alluvial nature of this area.

Chemical Sructure by Karol Głąb via Wikimedia Commons

As the wood fossilised it was compressed.  It also changes as the cells are crushed and minerals ingress.  The core remains the carbon atoms of the original trees.  In this image below you can also see some Sulphur which is often one of the minerals found within petrified wood.  You can also see the effect of the pressure on the top surface.

Petrified Wood Showing Effecs of Pressure and Sulphur Depositation

In most images you can still clearly identify the structure of the original wood including the ‘tree rings’.

Fosslised Wood Showing Tree Rings

These remains are being found almost exclusively in heavily built up areas and householders were quite unaware that such prehistoric remains were there and are now being found as work is being conducted on extensions and basements.

Petrified Wood

It is recorded that the existence and location of these deposits were well know about right up until even as late as Victorian times, or indeed in some, more traditional, families much later, but as society became more sophisticated such knowledge was gradually superceded and lost.  Now, through the hard work of local amateur archaeologists, known here in Richmond as “The Gardners” deposits such as these are turning up again.

I am lucky enough to have these two specimens in my collection. I keep them as Exhibition Pieces and wouldn’t part with them, not least because it is so very rare and special to have such prehistoric treasures discovered literally outside my own back door, so to speak.  Although, if other collectors wanted such specimens I could probably source similar, or, indeed, point them at specialist dealers who trade in this sort of material.


© Copyright Charlotte M Bailey 2013