The Fossil Lady: Digging up ancient history along Kentucky’s highways

Kentucky

MASON COUNTY, KY (WOWK) – Look no further than Northeastern Kentucky, where ancient history is waiting to be dug up.

Before humans and even dinosaurs roamed the Tri-State area, sea creatures as old as 450 million years inhabited this portion of the Appalachian Mountains.

Along the AA Highway throughout Mason County, road cuts reveal a plethora of fossils, such as brachiopods, gastropods, bryozoans, cephalopods, trilobites, crinoids and many more extinct species of the Ordovician geological period.

Local fossil expert, Linda Keefer said, “It’s a window in time that’s not normally available to be seen.”

Linda is passionate about fossils. She took an interest in rocks as a child and went on to study geology at Marshall University.

There are a multitude of spots on the AA Highway where history can be made alive through digging. A couple include:

  • Crossroad of Route 1449 and AA 9. According to Linda, this low-cut rock unit is called the Bull Fork in Kentucky.
  • Right off exit 172 on I-64 west in Grayson that turns into Highway AA9 when you turn right. This stretch of road has many opportunities.

Linda says that fossil hunting is best in the spring and summer before the extreme heat sets in.

She recommends long pants, good shoes and sunscreen as well as drinking plenty of water.

Linda also says to park off the road and be wary of traffic. You could encounter falling rocks, snakes, spiders, a lot of different bugs, broken glass, dead animals, and more.

She also requests that you do not hammer or chisel into rocks. There is no need to since there are plenty of fossils just laying around to find.

Bring a zip-loc bag to place your fossils in and have fun!

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