Pamunkey fossil site
We traveled by canoe up the Pamunkey River. Approaching the confluence of the North and South Anna Rivers, there are 60 foot tall muddy bluffs spotted with mountain laurel. Mature hardwood trees try to hold their grip on the river bank while the constant river flow withdraws soil underneath. Occasionally the embankments give up their grip and collapse into the river, leaving sunlit amphitheaters – clayey gouges where songbirds practice while osprey and vultures circle and watch.
At a few spots, the river channel exposes buried history. Along one bend on the south side, the ends of planks from an old dock or corduroy road stick out from below 40 feet of mud that has covered up the remnants of Robert E. Lee’s path from Jericho Mills to Cold Harbor. Farther upstream, the soil turns harder and darker and in one place, millions of shelly fossil remains slowly wash out as ground water seeps through the dense matrix that captured them millions of years ago.