Abbey Wood SSSI

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Abbey Wood
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Abbey Wood SSSI.JPG
Area of Search Greater London
Grid reference TQ481786
Interest Geological
Area 6.3 hectares
Notification 1987
Location map Magic Map
The Fossil Bed where members of the public are allowed to dig for fossils

Abbey Wood is a 6.3 hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Abbey Wood in the London Borough of Bexley. It is located in Lesnes Abbey Woods south-east of the ruins of Lesnes Abbey.[1] Members of the public can dig for fossils in a small area designated as the Fossil Bed with the permission of the Lesnes Abbey ranger.

The site is late Palaeocene[2] and early Eocene[3] 50 to 60 million years ago. Important Palaeocene finds in the Blackheath Beds on the site include 22 species of mammals in 12 orders, which resemble the Wasatchian fauna of North America. It has also yielded one of only two Palaeocene birds found in Britain, the holotype of Marinavis longirostris, a large Procellariiform sea bird, and the site may throw light on Procellariiform/Pelecaniform evolution.[2]

Excavations of the site in the twentieth century produced a rich yield of Eocene mammals and many shark teeth. It is particularly important for fish, including 16 type specimens.[3]

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Coordinates: 51°29′13″N 0°07′46″E / 51.48706°N 0.12942°E / 51.48706; 0.12942