Ancient find gives learning an exciting Jurassic spark

Students with the ammonite that was found in the grounds of Shipston High School. At the back, left to right, Chris Booker, technician in the school's technology department (white coat), Kevin Wynne, site manager for building company Trendgrey (high viz) and Keith Harper, head of the school's technology department (shirt and tie). NNL-150130-152743001
Students with the ammonite that was found in the grounds of Shipston High School. At the back, left to right, Chris Booker, technician in the school's technology department (white coat), Kevin Wynne, site manager for building company Trendgrey (high viz) and Keith Harper, head of the school's technology department (shirt and tie). NNL-150130-152743001

A secondary school has 
welcomed its oldest new member – aged 190 million years.

A giant ammonite, an extinct marine creature from the early Jurassic era which is distantly related to squid and octopus, has gone on display at Shipston High School.

The 190million-year-old ammonite found in the grounds of Shipston High School.

The 190million-year-old ammonite found in the grounds of Shipston High School.

The ancient fossil was discovered during excavation work to build the school’s new teaching block.

The school contacted Mike Ashley and Dick Burge from Shipston Museum, Warwickshire County Council and the County Museum at Warwick.

It was identified by Jon Radley, the curator of natural sciences, as Arietites. After contractors Trendgrey handed the fossil over to the school, the technology department got to work preserving the remains.

They are on display in the entrance to the school with plans for them to be housed in the new teaching block.

Headteacher Jonathan Baker said: “We are all rather overwhelmed by the age of the discovery. Put it this way, if one year is represented by the thickness of one sheet of paper, then our maths department believe that to represent the age of the fossil you would need enough sheets of paper standing on their ends to reach all the way from Shipston to Stratford – and back again! We are really grateful to our contractors for the care they took in protecting the discovery.”