BRLSI Online Museum - JESBI


The Jurassic Ecosystem Of Strawberry Bank Ilminster Project.


Please note, this project is now completed and these pages will no longer be updated, however research into the Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte is continuing. A free to view review paper, which summarises many of the findings of the project, has been published by the Journal of the Geological Society which can be accessed on their website here. Furthermore, we are working on converting our 2014 exhibition about Strawberry Bank “Jurassic Ark” to become the next of our free online exhibitions.

Welcome to the JESBI project pages, visit the various sections by following the links on the right or go straight to our most recent news.


The Jurassic Ecosystem of Strawberry Bank Ilminster (JESBI) project is a three year collaboration between Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution and the Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Group (University of Bristol).

Beneath the houses of the Somerset town of Ilminster lies a beautifully preserved Jurassic ecosystem.
A basement in central Bath is home to hundreds of fossils, excavated from this hidden treasure trove over 150 years ago.

Not only are there many fossils from this site, but they show exceptional preservation. Many anatomical features that are very rarely preserved are common in the fossils from this site. Soft tissues such as muscles, guts, and traces of skin, allow scientists unusual opportunities to learn more about some fascinating extinct creatures.

For the first time since their discovery, the exquisite fossils of extinct marine reptiles, fish, crustaceans, squid-like cephalopods, and insects are to be intensively studied.





The JESBI project is a partnership between BRLSI and the Palaeoibiology and Biodiversity Research Group, University of Bristol. It is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation,



Fossil Squid Ink

Dr Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol has visited to sample 183 million year old squid ink from our fossil collection.

JESBI project at "Bristol Rocks!"

Geology is taking over Bristol City Museum on Sunday 16th February 2014 with a family event day featuring talks, trails, kids’ activities, handling specimens, and local geology groups. The BRLSI’s JESBI project will be there.

JESBI Project Goes International

What does a working cement quarry in the Beaujolais region have to do with fossils collected in Somerset 150 years ago? The JESBI project goes international in a new collaboration with Paleorhodania; BRLSI Collections Manager Matt Williams tells all.

Freshly Prepared Fish

We have just uploaded two spectacular fossils to the JESBI gallery, showing the detailed preparatory work undertaken by Lorie Barber.

New Paper on Strawberry Bank Ichthyosaurs Published

An academic paper entitled "Ichthyosauria from the Upper Lias of Strawberry Bank, England" has been published recently, which focuses upon an extensive description of eight remarkably preserved ichthyosaurs from the BRLSI's collection.