(Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

The photographer holds a fossilized scallop shell from the genus Chesapecten, pulled from the sandy shoreline of Calvert Cliffs State Park in Calvert County, Md., on May 7, 2017. The species commonly found at Calvert Cliffs, known as Chesapecten nefrens, lived roughly 12 to 15 million years ago during the Miocene Epoch.

Calvert Cliffs State Park is home to the cliffs of the same name which are famous for their abundance of fossils. During the Miocene, roughly 20 to 10 million years ago, much of the East Coast was underwater. Shells and bones from the prehistoric sharks, whales, seabirds and invertebrates were buried in the sand and mud. Millions of years later, the ocean retreated, revealing the cliffs that hold those remains.

Over 600 species of fossils from the Miocene have been found at Calvert Cliffs, and the beach is still open to fossil-hunters of all ages. The 1.8-mile red trail leads from the park’s parking lot to the beach which visitors comb for shark teeth, ancient oysters and extinct scallops. After finding fossilized treasures, visitors can enjoy the park’s 13 miles of foot trails, hunting and fishing opportunities, picnic areas and playground.

Learn more about the geology of the Chesapeake Bay.



Chesapeake Program

Hey Davi, awesome find! The Calvert Marine Museum might be interested.

Davi Tin

Hi I got about 10 Hug size of scallop shells about 2_3 bigger size then this one in pic do you all know if there a place they buy or museum wants them?

Paul Murdoch

I offer Fossil Walking Tours along the beaches here so check out my website if interested:


Chesapeake Program

Hey Judy, depending on what's in your collection, you could try selling or trading fossils at fossil shows. You could also consider donating the collection to the Calvert Marine Museum.

Judy Ingram

Are these shells worth anything. I have a collection given to me.Dont know what to do with them.

Joey Craig

I have found many of theses in the st Mary's river.. right out of St indegos..

Sally Galiani

we have a home on wilton creek, va. It is off the Piankatank river. There seems to be considerable shells. CAN YOU GIVE US ANY INSIGHT?

Leave a comment:

Time to share! Please leave comments that are respectful and constructive. We do not publish comments that are disrespectful or make false claims.

Thank you!

Your comment has been received. Before it can be published, the comment will be reviewed by our team to ensure it adheres with our rules of engagement.

Back to recent stories