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Stair Hole Looking East, Frederick Whitehead, 1890s.

The internationally significant geological and paleontological collections of Dorset County Museum help researchers uncover the hidden strata of Dorset's ancient past.

Over a century of collecting has seen the compilation of over 20,000 specimens from across the county, including many from Dorset locations now designated as part of the UNESCO 'Jurassic Coast' World Heritage Site.

The collections contain important vertebrate material, including type and figured specimens. This is especially so for the Purbeck Limestone Formation. The Corallian collections are also important, having been used by W. J. Arkell for the Palaeontographical Society monographs, and there are also significant holdings of dinosaur trackway material. The invertebrate collections are also of merit and there are 22 holotypes in the collection as a whole.