Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

124 Year Old Mystery

When Blackberry Farm Land Manager Matt Smith first met Steve Hageman, Professor of Geology at Appalachian State University, the two men never expected they'd discover a 517 million-year-old fossil together at a nearby property managed by Blackberry Farm! The fossil is a trilobite, a distant relation of the horseshoe crab. In 1892, geologist Charles Doolittle Walcott left a clue about the ancient fossil’s location—a clue that sparked a three-year search for Hageman. In May 2016, directed by Hageman's expert intuition, it was only minutes before Smith found the first fossil. Since then, Hageman has discovered two more in the area. Blackberry Farm has donated the fossils to the Smithsonian Museum, but for now, they are being studied by the University of Chicago.