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The Museum at the Square & Compass By Charlie Newman

Real-Ale-and-Real-Fossilscharlie saurusThe natural history, geology and archaeological material to be found in Purbeck is so rich and diverse that I couldn't help become fascinated with what was out there right on my doorstep. I had a wonderful teacher in my father Ray, and his enthusiasm and zeal for collecting was infectious!

The museum represents a combination of over 60 years of collecting. The Square and Compass Fossil Museum is a tribute to my father and an added bonus for those visitors to the Square who are interested in what there is to be found in the stunning Dorset landscape.

The Fossils

The Square and Compass Fossil Museum Fossil Fishy Pliosaur Crocodiles teeth..Smile!

The collection of fossils on show is a combination of specimens from my father's collecting, my own finds and some donations from fellow enthusiasts. They are primarily from Purbeck - and have been discovered in the Kimmeridge Clay, Portland and Purbeck stone, chalk greensand and the Wealdon beds. We also have several pieces from the other UK localities - Lyme Regis, the north Somerset coast and Whitby.

In the 1960's my father's collection of fossils from the Wealdon Beds and Swanage was identified and catalogued by the Natural History Museum.

Among my favourites are the larger marine reptiles - Ichthyosaur and Pliosaur - and I have managed to collect some good examples of these.

Im an Ichthyosaur..!

Fossils assortment

Archaeological finds

17th C horse boss
Coins through the ages
Early belt buckle

18th Century pub ale tap and key

Old Jug

I have been delving into archaeology for almost 20 years now and the archaeological finds on display in the museum represents a small example of the material I've discovered.

The artifacts on display comprise Mesolithic and Neolithic flint tools - some Bronze Age items which extend into the Romano British period such as axe fragments, potsherds, worked shale etc - and various coins, brooches, buckles and other assorted pieces of Roman metalwork.

A lot of my collecting is done with the aid of a metal detector although sometimes a freshly ploughed field will yield coins and artefacts that can be found on the surface with the naked eye! All of the finds in the museum are from sites in Dorset and wouldn't have come to light without the kind permission of local farmers and landowners who have given access to their land.

Early Iron Age

Assortment of local finds

3rd Century Storage Vessel Musket Powder Case and Balls

Shipwreck finds

Shipwreck Stuff

We have several 18th Century shipwreck bits, mainly from the Halswell, which went down at Seacombe cliffs in 1786. These items were donated and comprise of metal work and some coinage. It is possible to collect this sort of material on the foreshore - including pulley wheels from rigging of which we have a few examples

Im an old smokey...!

Clay Pipes

When my Great Grandfather was landlord it was still possible to purchase a clay pipe, filled with tobacco and ready to smoke! Some of the pipes in the display were sold here by my Great Grandfather, some found, some donated.

Pipes found nearby

Pipes for a penny!

The rest of the collection is a miscellany of farming bygones, stone and glass bottles and bits of everyday ephemera from past times. outside we also have examples of agricultural machinery - cow cake cutters and turnip crunchers.

Im not a turnip cruncher...!