Friday, December 27, 2013

A Visit to Fossil Factory - Rissani, Morocco

The rocks are wet with water to make the fossilized critters visible
The fossils in the rock become visible when splash with water
Rissani is a remote desert town in eastern Morocco, near Erfoud and according to the 2004 population census, it had about 20,000 people then. It is not far from Erg Chebbi, the magnificient desert.  After traveling a few miles in the region of Er-Rachidia, we made a brief stop at one of the fossil factory to see some interesting fossil crafts which will actually make very nice souvenirs to carry home.  They make all sorts of goods from small figurines, ash trays, plates, mugs and  to huge items such as tables, sinks, bathrooms  and home decorative items.  

The guide explained that the desert area of Morocco was once a sea more than 400 million years ago.  When the sea receded, the critters died and later became fossilized.  Today the fossilized rocks are mined and it becomes a growing popular industry in this part of Morocco. Some of us bought pendents, rings and very small items as souvenirs - anything bigger than that can be quite heavy to take home.  You also need to be careful with the authenticity of the fossilized products as there have been instances where fake fossilized items made from cement and shaped in moulds are mistaken for real. 

Trilobite Fossil
Several artifacts made from fossil stones
Fossilized Squids
They call it - Desert Rose
Moroccan Amonite
The guide showed us some fossil stone blocks
Beautiful plate from fossil rock

1 comment:

  1. I hate to inform you but this particular Moroccan piece is actual a fake made of recycled minerals and metal from where the actual pieces are exuviated as well as from industrial plants. This belemnite (fossilized squids as you call them) specimen is a commonly mass produced fake that, when observed under a microscope, can be shown to have pores from flash temperature changes along with being composed of mainly modern manufactured metal not from the natural minerals of that area.