The guardian of the treasure chest of nature

The guardian of the treasure chest of nature

Matthias einwag they are millions of years old and provide clues to earlier life on our planet – the fossils. Bernd ludwig has been fascinated by fossilized prehistoric animals since his childhood. The 76-year-old is an ammonite hunter by passion. For more than 60 years he has pursued this passion.

He keeps thousands and thousands of these primeval relics in the cellars and sheds of his house. Little by little he works on the snails, dinosaurs and belemnites (thunderbolts). He dissects giant and tiny snails from limestone blocks or slate slabs in which they are enclosed. The heaviest block he stores in his fossil garden weighs around 34 metric tons. The smallest gold ammonites are the size of a fingernail.

Reading finds have become rare

You have to know where to find them. It used to be easier in the old days, when abandoned quarries were real treasure troves. Fossilized snails were once to be found on the staffelberg plateau – just like that, when you walked over the harvested and plowed fields in the fall. Today it is different. Reading finds are rare. "In kaider there were the coarse snails", remembers bernd ludwig. And in the lowental behind the staffelberg there was a real gold vein decades ago – there were countless gold ammonites to be found in the soft ornate clay.