Annual Meeting > Field Trips

Four field trips will be offered in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.  Advance registration for all field trips is required.  Onsite registration will not be accepted.  SVP reserves the right to alter or cancel a field trip due to low registration or if access to site is limited or closed to the public.  In the event of a field trip cancellation, SVP will refund fees in full.

Field Trip Disclaimer

Advanced registration for all field trips is required. Onsite field trip registration will not be accepted. All field trips are subject to change. SVP reserves the right to alter or cancel a field trip due to low registration or if access to sites is limited or closed to the public. In the event of a field trip cancellation, SVP will refund fees in full.

Famous Vertebrate Fossillagerstätten in Southern and Central Germany

Southern and central Germany are exceptionally rich in paleontological resources. As part of SVP’s first meeting in Germany, we will showcase the classical and globally famous fossil vertebrate localities of these regions. Stratigraphically, these areas offer exceptional fossillagerstätten of Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Tertiary, and Pleistocene age. We will thus be visiting such world-class paleontological sites such as Solnhofen, Holzmaden, and Messel.

In the Solnhofen area, we will be able to see three specimens of Archaeopteryx, numerous pterosaurs, and spectacular fish fossils. In Holzmaden and Stuttgart, we will view the world’s foremost collection of ichthyosaurs. In Stuttgart and at the Muschelkalk Museum in the picturesque town of Ingelfingen, we will have a look at the Triassic marine and terrestrial reptiles on display. A unique diversity of Eocene mammals, birds, and reptiles from the Messel Pit is new on exhibit at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, while Tertiary mammals are abundant in the fissure fills in the Jurassic carbonates near Eichstätt. Central Germany also offers important Tertiary and Pleistocene faunas such as at the classical Eocene Geiseltal locality and at the Pleistocene sites of Untermassfeld, Bilzingsleben, Neumark Nord, and Weimar-Ehringsdorf. 

We will strive for a good balance between visiting fossil sites, quarries, and leading museums and will look at the regional geology. The cultural history and natural history of Germany will not be neglected, either. And, of course, such a road trip would not be complete without sampling the good German beer and cuisine.

Thursday, October 30 - Tuesday, November 4

Time: Field Trip will depart from the Frankfurt Airport at 12:00 noon on October 30, and arrive at 6:00pm on November 4 at the Estrel Berlin (headquarters hotel)
Pick up Location: Frankfurt Airport
Drop off Location: Estrel Berlin
$810 USD per person

Cost Includes:
Transportation, hotel accommodations (two people to a room), museum and quarry admission fees, breakfast and lunch. The cost of dinner is not included.

Minimum Number of Participants: 18

Maximum Number of Participants: 25


Field trip transport begins at the Frankfurt Airport (Terminal 1, at the airport’s designated Meeting Point/Treffpunkt) and ends at the meeting venue (Hotel Estrel) in Berlin. We will travel in a small bus (coach) owned and operated by the University of Bonn. Luggage space in the bus is limited.

What to wear or bring with you: 

Late October in Germany is moderately cool  to chilly (5 to 15 degrees centigrade daytime high). We might be blessed with a sunny spell, but it is more likely to be rainy. We won’t be deterred by a spot of bad weather, but do bring a rain-proof jacket and a sweater for greater comfort. Sturdy field boots are necessary to go into the quarries and excavation sites. Don't forget a hammer, or else your very own Archaeopteryx may get away.

Materials Provided:
Field trip guidebook and color map of Germany

Preliminary Itinerary:

The field trip begins at the Frankfurt Airport and ends at the meeting venue in Berlin. The final itinerary is weather-dependent. More detailed information will be sent to all participants registered for the field trip.


      Below, O = Outcrop, M = Museum


October 30, 2014 (Thursday), Messel

 -    Leave Frankfurt Airport (Terminal 1, at the airport’s designated Meeting Point/Treffpunkt) at 12:00 noon (most flights from the US arrive early in the morning)

 -    Messel Pit (O): Eocene lacustrine oil shale, Unesco World Heritage site

 -    Darmstadt, Hesse State Museum (M): New exhibition displaying fossils from Messel


      Overnight in Ingelfingen


October 31, 2014 (Friday), Muschelkalk and Liassic

 -    Ingelfingen, Muschelkalkmuseum (M): Middle Triassic marine reptiles and Late Triassic amphibians

 -    Stuttgart, State Museum of Natural History (M): Foremost collection of Triassic and Jurassic vertebrate fossils from Germany. Also houses an extensive collection of Tertiary mammals and an early hominid skull.

 -    Holzmaden, Museum Hauff (O+M): Marine reptiles from the Liassic Posidonia oil shale


 -    Albaufstieg: Jurassic escarpment of Swabian Alb mountains

 -    Nördlingen: Famous medieval city and dead center of Ries impact crater

Overnight in


November 1, 2014 (Saturday), Ries Impact Crater

 -    Nördlingen, Ries Crater Museum (M): Geology of Miocene Ries impact crater, the best-studied large meteor crater in the world

 -    Steinheim am Albuch (O+M): Steinheim crater, twin crater of Ries meteor crater with the famous succession of endemic fresh water snails and mammals


 -    Ries Crater (O): crater rim thrust fault at Wemding

Overnight in


November 2, 2014 (Sunday), Solnhofen

 -    Langenaltheim Hardt (O): Quarry area in Upper Jurassic lithographic limestone of the Solnhofen facies

 -    Solnhofen, rgermeisterMüller Museum (M): Spectacular collection of Solnhofen fossils, Solnhofen specimen of Archaeopteryx, another partial Archaeopteryx skeleton


 -    Eichstädt, Jura Museum at Willibaldsburg castle (M): Spectacular collection of Solnhofen fossils, Eichstätt specimen of Archaeopteryx and Juravenator skeleton

 -    Petersbuch quarries (O): Tertiary fissure fills with mammals

Overnight in Eichst


November 3, 2014 (Monday), Thuringian Forest

 -    Banz, Monastery Museum (M): Historic museum with giant historic ichthyosaur skull

 -    Hildburghausen, town center: Chirotherium monument commemorating the first named ichnofossil

 -    Schleusingen, Museum Schloss Bertoldsburg (M): Triassic dinosaurs and marine reptiles


 -    Bromacker Quarry (O): Unique Lower Permian tetrapod locality


 -    Weimar, Senckenberg Research Station of Quaternary Palaeontology (M): Untermassfeld - Early Pleistocene mammal community – Excavation, conservation, documentation.

-        -    Pleistocene type collections


Overnight in


November 4, 2014 (Tuesday), Eocene Geiseltal and the Quaternary

 -    Weimar-Ehringsdorf (O): Pleistocene travertine deposits with mammal fauns and Paleolithic horizons

 -    Halle, Geiseltalmuseum (M): Famous Eocene vertebrates from abandoned lignite mine

 -    Halle, State Museum of Prehistory (M): Pleistocene megafauna from Bilzingsleben and Neumark Nord

 -    Travel from Halle to meeting venue (Hotel Estrel) in Berlin


Martin Sander

Steinmann Institute

Division of Paleontology

University of Bonn

Phone: ++49 228 73 31 05

FAX: ++49 228 73 600 57



Wighart von Koenigswald

Steinmann Institute

Division of Paleontology

University of Bonn

Phone: ++49 228 73 31 04

FAX: ++49 228 73 35 09



Carole Gee

 Steinmann Institute

 Division of Paleontology

 University of Bonn

 Phone: ++49 228 73 30 63

 FAX: ++49 228 73 35 09



Tetrapods and Fishes from the Pennsylvanian and Permian of Saxonia and Thuringia

The aim of the field trip is to provide a better understanding of the Carboniferous and Permian vertebrates in Central Germany in the context of the outcrop situation, paleoecology, paleobiogeography and biostratigraphy. Many vertebrate groups are known from both parts of Northern Pangaea – North America and Europe, too. Especially the eryopid, seymouriamorph, diadectid and synapsid tetrapods or the xenacanthid sharks and palaeoniscid fishes are very similar or identical. Other tetrapods as the newt like branchiosaurids are very common and characteristic for the European part of Pangaea with thousands of complete skeletons.

We will demonstrate the famous tetrapod localities Niederhäslich near Dresden, the new tetrapod finds in the “Petrified Forest” of Chemnitz as well as the famous tetrapod localities Bromacker near Tambach and Manebach in the Thuringian Forest Mountains, in field with outcrops as well as in the collections with instructive specimens.


Date: Sunday, November 2 - Tuesday, November 4

Time: Field Trip will depart at 8:00am and arrive at 6:00pm
Pick up/Drop off Location:
Estrel Berlin
Cost: $450 USD per person
Cost Includes: Transportation, two nights at a hotel, two breakfasts, three lunches, two dinners, entrance fee

Minimum Number of Participants: 8

Maximum Number of Participants: 50

Vans or a large bus (depending on the number of registrants) will be provided for transportation of field trip participants.  Vans or bus will depart at 8:00am from the entrance of the Estrel Berlin (headquarters hotel).


Preliminary Itinerary:
November 2, 2014
A - Tetrapods from the Early Permian Niederhäslich and Döhlen localities
8.00 am:                  Start in Berlin
11 – 12.30 am:         Senckenberg Museum Dresden; GEINITZ-collection from Niederhäslich
12.30 am - 3.00 pm: Outcrop of the vertebrate bearing Niederhäslich limestone in the Döhlen
                               basin, town Freital
3.30 – 4.30 pm:        Geological Survey of Saxony, Freiberg; (spectacular haptodontid skeleton
                               group, F.v.HUENE 1925, and the CREDNER-collection from Niederhäslich)
5.00 pm:                  TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Department of Palaeontology, exhibition and collection
                               (Late Palaeozoic haptodontids, amphibians, sharks and their egg capsules etc. as
                               well as tetrapods and fishes from the Late Triassic fossillagerstaette Madygen)
November 3, 2014
B - Tetrapods from the Early Permian „Petrified Forest“ ecosystem of Chemnitz,
Saxony, and vertebrates of the Early to Late Permian (Rotliegend, Zechstein) and the
Triassic of Thuringia

8.00 am: Start in Freiberg
9 - 10.30 am:             Excavation of the „Petrified Forest“ in Chemnitz
11 - 12.30 am:           Museum für Naturkunde Chemnitz, with presentation of tetrapods newly
                                discovered in the „Petrified Forest“
12.30 – 15.30             Travel to Thuringia
4.00 am - late evening:Naturhistorisches Museum Schloss Bertholdsburg Schleusingen with exhibition
                                 and collections of tetrapods (from amphibians to dinosaurs) and their footprints as
                                 well as fishes of the Permian (Rotliegend, Zechstein) and the Triassic.
November 4, 2014
C – Permian Tetrapod localities in the Thuringian Forest Mountains
8.00 am:                    Start in Schleusingen
8.30 – 9.30 am:          Earliest Permian classical Kammerberg locality near Manebach
9.30 – 12.00 am:        World famous late Early Permian tetrapod skeleton and track locality Bromacker
                                 quarry near Tambach
12.30 - 2.00 pm:         Museum der Natur in Schloss Friedenstein Gotha, presentation of selected
                                 skeletons from the Bromacker quarry
Ca. 6.00 pm:              Arrival in Berlin.


Ralf Werneburg
Naturhistorisches Museum Schloss Bertholdsburg Schleusingen
Burgstraße 6
98553 Schleusingen
Tel.: +49 (0)36841/531212
Fax: +49 (0)36841/531225

Jörg W. Schneider and Frederik Spindler
TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Geologisches Institut, Lehrstuhl Paläontologie
Bernhard-von-Cotta-Strasse 2
09599 Freiberg
Tel.: +49 (0)3731-39-2856
Fax: +49 (0)3731-39-3599

Ronny Rößler
Museum für Naturkunde
Moritzstraße 20
09111 Chemnitz
Tel.: ++49 (0) 371-488 4550
Fax: ++49 (0) 371-488 4597

Messel, Geiseltal and Rome: Highlights from the Cenozoic

Germany hosts numerous Cenozoic localities of international importance. This short pre-conference field trip is designed to give unique views of the two most significane Eocene sites in Germany, Messel and Geiseltal. MESSEL: The Messel Pit, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, is rivalled only by the Green River Formation for its insight into paleobiology in the middle Eocene. The pit represents a 47-million-year-old maar lake deposit, exposed by mining of oil-shale. Participants will visit current excavation sites within the pit as well as the site of the drill-core, where the origin of the lake basin was finally determined. A new visitor’s center (opened in 2009) offers innovative, modern exhibitions illustrating the geology and paleontology. GEISELTAL: The closely spaced middle Eocene localities in the Geisel Valley are somewhat younger than those of Messel, but the preservation – including in some cases cellular structures – is exquisite. As in Messel, the deposit was excavated for fossil fuels (lignite), but most of the pits are now flooded. Johannes Walther (as in “Walther’s law”) and the taphonomist Johannes Weigelt were both active here. Participants will visit remaining outcrops of the lignite. They will also see the Geiseltal Museum (in the chapel of the 16th century prince-residence, whose walls are adorned by Weigelt’s painted reconstructions of the Geiseltal paleoenvironments); this may be the last opportunity to see the original museum before it is moved.


Date: Monday, November 3 - Tuesday, November 4 (with overnight stays on November 2 and November 3)

Time: Field Trip will depart at 8:30am on November 3 and arrive in the early evening on November 4
Pick up Location: Hotel Corona in downtown Frankfurt am Main
Drop off Location: 
Estrel Berlin
Cost: $335 USD per person
Cost Includes:
Transportation, entrance to the visitor’s center at Messel, field trip guide, breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, two nights stay in hotels (individual rooms)

Minimum Number of Participants: 20

Maximum Number of Participants: 25


What to wear or bring with you:  Participants should anticipate cool (potentially cold) weather conditions for an outdoor activity, including a water-proof jacket and sturdy shoes.  Daily mean temperature is around 5 Degrees Celsius (40 Degrees Fahrenheit) in November, but can be markedly lower or higher.


Additional Information: Participants should anticipate cool (potentially cold) weathr conditions for an outdoor activity, including water-proof jacket and sturdy shoes.  Daily mean temperature is around 5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) in November, but this value can vacillate dramatically.

A bus will be provided for transportation of field trip participants and leaders.  It will depart at 8:00am from Hotel Corona in downtown Frankfurth am Main.  The field trip will end in Berlin, from which the participants may wish to fly home after teh conference.



Krister Smith and Thomas Lehmann
Senckenberg Museum
Senckenberganlage 25
60325 Frankfurt, Germany
Phone: +49-345-5526073

Meinolf Hellmund
Central Repository
Natural History Collections
Domstrasse 5
06109 Halle an der Saale, Germany
Phone: +49-345-5526073

Alexander Hastings
Central Repository of Natural History Collections

Field Trip to Rüdersdorf and Niederlehme
The Rüdersdorf Muschelkalk quarry represents one of the most significant geological and paleontological quarries in the larger Berlin area. Far over 100 years of work exposed a Triassic profile ranging from the upper Buntsandstein (Röt) to the upper Muschelkalk. It is an elevation of pre-Cenozoic underground in Northern Germany. The lower Muschelkalk is composed mainly of limestone and clayey marl. The shallow marine sediments of the so called “Wellenkalk” reveal characteristic assemblages of ichnofossils. The middle Muschelkalk primarily consists of dolomitic limestone and marl. It is famous for the spectacular finds of Nothosaurus remains and a rich fossil fauna containing numerous genera of actinopterygians in the “Blauer Fischmergel”. In the upper Muschelkalk isolated, phosphatic vertebrate remains frequently occur on bedding surfaces (Hybodus, Acrodus, Palaeobates, Gyrolepis).

An overview of the Pleistocene strata and the mammalian assemblage of the Rixdorf Horizon will be presented in the sand pit at Niederlehme. The sequence of strata that mainly consists of sand and gravel (c. 20m) is underlain by a Saalian ground moraine and overlain by a ground moraine of Weichselian age. The predominantly coarse-grained deposits of the Rixdorf Horizon rest on the Saalian ground moraine and reach a thickness of up to 7 m. They yielded mammalian bones for more than 120 years. 23 mammalian species have been identified so far. The occurrence of cold-adapted (e.g., Dicrostonyx gulielmi, Mammuthus primigenius) and thermophile elements (e.g, Dama dama, Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis) reveals that the mammalian assemblage is a mixture of contemporary Weichselian and allochthonous Pleistocene species.

Sunday, November 9

Ends: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Pick up/Drop off Location: Museum für Naturkunde
Cost: $30.00 USD per person
Cost Includes: Transportation, field guide (print-outs), water

Minimum Number of Participants: 14

Maximum Number of Participants: 20


What to Wear or Bring with You: Participants should anticipate cold weather conditions.  Wearing hiking boots is mandatory.  Participants should also bring their own packed lunch and/or snacks.


Vans will be provided for transportation of field trip participants and leaders.  Vans will depart at 8:30am in from of the Museum
für Naturkunde, Invalidenstarße 43, 10115 Berlin.



Oliver Hampe
Museum für Naturkunde
Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung
Invalidenstr. 43
10115 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49-30-2093-8678

Daniela Schwarz-Wings
Museum für Naturkunde
Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung
Invalidenstr. 43
10115 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49-30-2093-8754
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