Lecture: The Forensic use of calcareous microfossils, with particular reference to the Soham murder case

Speaker: Dr. Haydon W. Bailey, Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd. (Retired), Scientific Associate, Natural History Museum, London

Entry Fee

Members: Free

Visitors: Book via Eventbrite

Date and Time

19:00 -


Virtual Talk via Zoom

Lecture Description

With major contributions from Dr. Liam Gallagher and Matthew Hampton, Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd.

Chalk is a very unusual rock. It’s dominantly biogenic, being formed from the microscopic remains of minute golden brown algae (coccoliths), other microfossils (foraminifera, ostracods, calcispheres) and fragmentary remains of macrofossils (bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, belemnites). Whenever and however it is used by man it retains a trace of this biogenic origin and, with careful research, we can use this trace like a fingerprint, tracking it back to its source.

Such provenance studies have curious applications in both the fine art world and in criminal investigations. Two examples are presented here in order to provide an insight into how chalk has been used in previous provenance studies and might be used in future applications.

Tudor (16th Century) portrait of ‘A man in a red suit’. Inoceramid rich, foraminiferal chalk, Soham