A very rare occurrence can be found in a unique Cretaceous fossil deposit in England - the world-famous Faringdon Sponge Gravels! These gravels were formed during the Cretaceous period when the area was submerged beneath an ancient sea. Sponges lived on the sea floor and when they died underwater currents swept them into hollows where they accumulated to form the gravels. The fossil sponges found here are preserved in full, three-dimensional form as when they were alive. Encrusted on the fossil sponges are a host of other prehistoric invertebrates. The Faringdon Sponge Gravels are part of the Lower Greensand. It is composed predominantly of the remains of calcareous sponges, with brachiopods, echinoderms and bryozoa.
We acquired this collection of 11 COMPLETE fossil sponges directly from the original collector in England, many years ago. He informed us that these are amongst the very best of the sponges he collected over countless trips in a matter of years, to the quarry. We took the entire collection we acquired and carefully microblasted each specimen in our lab, devoting many hours to the meticulous cleaning of the fossil surface to reveal fascinating anatomy of the different species, while leaving intact, the associated fossil invertebrate sea life that was originally buried and affixed to the sponges. While you can find other Faringdon sponge fossils out there for sale for cheaper, you will not find fully lab-cleaned examples like this in a complete collection of the best, whole specimens. The majority of the price is actually the lab time we expended to clean this collection as several were encrusted quite heavily. This heavy encrustation was a blessing though, as it lent itself to protecting the fossils over time and the reason many of these sponges survived intact and as complete as they are.
Each of these fossil sponges can be arranged into a prehistoric Cretaceous sponge "reef" as seen in the photos above. This is a rare chance to acquire a true, museum-class collection in a single transaction, of the finest examples of species found at this famous deposit, from the days of the dinosaurs!
Regardless of your interests in fossil collecting, one cannot help being totally fascinated to be able to witness a fully preserved, life-like sponge in complete inflated form from the Cretaceous seas. You could make latex molds of the different varieties found at this locality and make casts that could be used in 100% accurate Cretaceous marine dioramas! If you could go back in time to the days of dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex, and dive into the ocean, this is some of the amazing ocean life you would witness! The state of preservation of these sponge fossils is nothing short of breath-taking! The vast majority of fossil sponges in the world are very, very poorly preserved and mostly represented by only fragments or badly eroded by elements.