Fossils and Geologic Time Topics

Selected Virginia Fossils (Part 3)

Virginia has several locations with famous or unusual fossils.

Arvonia, Buckingham County (Piedmont)

• At a slate quarry at Arvonia in Buckingham County, rare Ordovician trilobites and other invertebrates have been found in Piedmont metamorphic rocks.  Most fossils are destroyed when rocks are metamorphosed; therefore, these are unusual. 

505 to 438 million years ago

Arvonia fossils
Crinoids in Arvonia slate (Photograph by Stan Johnson)

MapThis fossil is one of the rare crinoid fossils found in the Arvonia Slate in Buckingham County.




Saltville, Smyth County (Valley and Ridge)

• In the Saltville area, late Pleistocene vertebrate and invertebrate fossils are abundant.  Mastadons, woolly mammoths, musk ox, and giant ground sloths have been found there.  Ancient human artifacts have also been found in the same area.

1.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago

Mastodon tooth and musk ox ribs
(Photographs by Charles Bartlett)

MapMany large mammal fossils have been found at Saltville.  The above left photograph shows a mastadon tooth.  The above right photograph shows the ribs of a musk ox that is being excavated.


(Photograph by Charles Bartlett)

Archeologists(Photograph by Charles Bartlett)Above: these human artifacts are knives or scrapers made of rhyolite and flint.  They were found at Saltville.  Early humans may have come to Saltville to hunt the large mammals that were there.  Right: archaeological digs have located these artifacts.