amber inclusion archive

British amber

Based in the Highlands of Scotland, Hugo Gill is on hand to serve clients throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland with the provision of Burmite amber from Myanmar for scientific research.

Hugo Gill
Advanced Amber Kretaceous Zoologia (UK Representative)
Tel: 01463 871753
Mobile: 07926 031783
Skype: highland_hugo

How did Amber get to Norfolk?

Baltic amber was probably transported towards Britain during the ice age (in the last few hundred thousand years) by ice sheets moving out of southern Scandinavia and across the North Sea. Today it may be derived by erosion of glacial deposits in the cliffs of Norfolk, or deposits offshore and washed onto our beaches. There appears to have been more amber found in the past than now, perhaps because cliff erosion has been reduced by coast protection works that have been built in the 20th century. In the 19th century several Cromer traders advertised themselves as amber dealers and craftsmen.

Nowadays, a few local people walk the Norfolk beaches regularly and collect small amounts, especially after winter storms have driven the amber ashore. It is said to be found most commonly on the strandline, where the amberweed (Flustra foliacea) gathers but may also be caught amongst the stones on the foreshore.

The Amber Coast Suffolk

Scientists have confirmed that threads found within amber deposits from the Sussex coast are the world's oldest known spider webs, dating back to 140 million years ago.

The tiny tangled filaments date back 140 million years and are linked to each other in the roughly circular pattern familiar to gardeners everywhere.

The web appears to be similar to those of modern orb web spiders, which weave a spiral of silk to catch insect prey.

The amber was found by an amateur fossil hunter whilst looking for dinosaur remains, and was handed over to palaeobiologist Professor Martin Brasier whose findings are published in the the Journal of the Geological Society.

The tiny threads about 1 millimetre (1/20th of an inch) long are held in suspension amid bits of burnt sap and fossilized vegetable matter.

Prof Brasier, of the University of Oxford, said: "This amber is very rare. It comes from the very base of the Cretaceous period, which makes it one of the oldest ambers anywhere to have inclusions in it." The amber was found on a beach famous for fossilised dinosaur tracks near Bexhill, in East Sussex. Pieces of charred bark and burnt sap inside the amber suggest the trees that produced the fossilised resin had been damaged in a fire and produced the droplets of resin to protect itself from infection.

The beaches between Felixstowe and Southwold are a great place to look for amber – fossilised resin from the ancient forests that grew on the land beneath the Baltic Sea. Raw amber looks like a dull brown stone – it's only when it's polished that it comes to life, and you might even spot something sealed inside it. Learn more about the geology of the Suffolk coast at

Cretaceous amber (from the Isle of Wight) also exhibits similar properties. It may be surprising to some that the oldest ‘amber’ (also known as middletonite) to have been found with inclusions was found from the coalfields of Ayrshire in Scotland. John Smith published this discovery in 1894, describing the inclusions as parts of coniferous plants and fungi. Although the actual specimens John Smith studied are now lost to science, new research using some of the more modern techniques like 3D X-ray imaging, which looks at opaque amber, may eventually reveal evidence of such inclusions in this type of resin. There are also folklore and traditions associated with amber in Scotland, but, as yet, no sources for any amber (post-Carboniferous). So where has all this amber-lore come from? It was most likely brought by visitors and immigrants from Scandinavia and northern Europe over the millennia. Scotland has had strong historical and commercial links with these Baltic and other northern amber states that is reflected in the place names (such as John O’Groats or Valtos) and language (words like ‘Kirk’ or ‘Bairn’). In prehistoric times, during the later Neolithic until about 3,700 years ago, amber use in the British Isles was still rare. However, Neolithic finds are known from Scotland at this time. Four irregular beads of amber, associated with jet beads and an axe, were found in a burial mound (over 4,000 years old) at Greenbrae, near Cruden in Aberdeenshire. In the past, the presence of amber in Neolithic burials has been used as evidence for trade with Europe. However, the fact that this amber is irregular in shape and is unlike amber being traded elsewhere in Europe, might suggest that it was not traded, but rather collected and worked locally.

Amber Hill Mine, Scordale, Hilton, Escarpment District, Cumbria, England, UK

Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 54° 35' 39'' North , 2° 22' 6'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 54.5943035434, -2.36838708342
UK National Grid Reference: NY762222
Other/historical region names associated with this locality: North Pennines; South Eastern Region; Westmorland; North Pennines; South Eastern Region; Westmorland

Small barytes workings up Stow Gill to the south east of Hilton Mines.

The gill and flanks of Amber Hill are strewn with large amounts of mineralised material from which smallish pale yellow fluorite cubes, barite and galena can easily be collected.

Groyne at Waxham Horsey - Eccles Coast, Norfolk, England, UK
Collecting area is at far end of beach beyond the last sea defence
Sidestrand beach, Cromer, Norfolk, England, UK
Chalk Exposures on Beach
Sidestrand beach, Cromer, Norfolk, England, UK
The coalfield of Ayrshire are home to carboniferous amber - the oldest amber with inclusions on this planet found so far. Claims of amber from Hastings called 'firestorm' is supposedly from the Jurassic period although we are yet to confirm this.

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