Object of the Week: "Stig", the huge fossil from a swamp in Wales 300 million years ago

By Ben Miller | 27 January 2016

Object of the Week: This week we bring you the huge star exhibit of an exhibition about a Welsh Swamp Land 300 million years ago

A photo of a large tree-like fossil inside a museum gallery
© Nigel Larkin
With a root span of four metres, this two-metre high Stigmaria fossil was rescued in pieces from the coal seam beneath the former Brymbo steelworks site in Wales. The area is now known as the Brymbo Fossil Forest, having once been a swamp in a river delta somewhere near the equator.

A photo of a large tree-like fossil laid out on a light brown stone floor
In the machine shop at Brymbo, 2014© Courtesy Peter Appleton
The enormous fossil of a monster plant is being displayed in a specially-designed steel cradle at Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives, where it is starring in a two-floor exhibition all about the Carboniferous period when giant insects flew above a swollen, muddy river in the lush prehistoric environment.

A photo of a large tree-like fossil inside a workshop space
The fossil in the conservator's workshop after two months' reconstruction work© Courtesy Nigel Larkin
Known as “the stig” by curators, its colour is natural, although the top two sections of the fossil were replicated in order to avoid attempting to lift 250kg of fossil onto a column, with an even heavier section required to be lifted on top of that.

A photo of a black and white dog lying next to a large tree-like fossil
Brymbo expert Peter Appleton's dog relaxes next to the Stig© Peter Appleton
Specialists from National Museum Cardiff will move the Stigmaria back to the capital once the exhibition is closed.

A photo of a large tree-like fossil inside a museum gallery
The first exhibition dedicated to telling the story of the Brymbo Fossil Forest opens this weekend© Nigel Larkin
  • Swamp Land: Brymbo 300 Million Years Ago is at Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives from January 30 – June 4 2016.

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