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Review Seminar 2009 - Sea Dragons of Avalon

Sea Dragons of Avalon

Sea Dragons of Avalon: the early radiations of the marine reptiles and recovery from the Triassic-Jurassic faunal crisis, with special reference to Street in Somerset and the wider British record.

The Sea Dragons of Avalon seminar will be held at the modern Strode Theatre in Street, on the edge of the marshes forming the Somerset Levels, opposite King Arthur’s legendary Isle of Avalon. It will offer a fresh look at the Street area, one of the classic source localities for marine reptiles during the 19th century alongside Lyme Regis. The seminar will be set in the wider context of the latest Triassic and early Jurassic faunal turnovers, and topics will include assessment of the Triassic-Jurassic marine reptile fauna together with contemporary changes in land reptiles, marine fishes and marine invertebrates. This is highly topical in light of interest in the end-Triassic mass extinction and recent resurvey of the Street area by the British Geological Survey. New vertebrate finds, together with posters by workers and institutions in the south-west of England, will be on display and we plan to visit the Alfred Gillett Collection of local fossil reptiles by kind courtesy of the archives of the Alfred Gillett Trust.

On the preceding evening, Thursday 30th July, the world-renowned ichthyosaur expert Ryosuke Motani (University of California, Davis) will deliver a Public Understanding of Science lecture, 'Street's town symbol: the ichthyosaur two centuries since its discovery', to be held at the Strode Theatre, for which there will be a small admission charge. The seminar will be followed by a local field excursion on Saturday 1st August, to see some of the remaining historical quarry sites, the local scenery and its relation to geological structure; if possible a visit to a modern working quarry will also be arranged.

There is no central conference accommodation available in Street itself, but this part of Somerset is a prime tourist area with many attractions (such as historic Glastonbury and the Clarks retail village in Street). Local accommodation is available, although it is wise to book early; we are happy to provide contacts for local Tourist Information Offices at the time of booking. In addition, Street is on regular bus routes from Bristol (through Wells and Glastonbury) and Taunton railway stations. The meeting is timed to allow participants to come for the day by public transport from Bristol or Taunton, if required.

Click here to download the meeting flier including programme.
Click here to download the meeting booking form.


  • Michael A. Taylor (National Museums Scotland)
  • Leslie F. Noè (Thinktank, the Birmingham Science Museum and University of Birmingham)
  • David B. Hill (South Somerset District Council)
  • Jeff J. Liston (Hunterian Museum and Faculty of BioMedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow);
  • Darren Naish (University of Portsmouth)

Created by on the 2009-04-22. (Version 2.0)