Hakel's Quarry  
Hakel's specimens are preserved in lagerstätten, formed by a fine-grained (micritic), finely laminated plattentalk.

The composition of Hakel's flint is: CaCO3 – 75%; SiO2 – 20%; remainder mostly clay minerals. Hakel, in particular among Lebanese fossil localities, has an abundant fish fauna preserved, and a much higher concentration of specimens than the famous Solnhofen beds in Bavaria . In 2003, they recorded 55 genera and 69 species of fish in Hakel deposits, compared to 47 genera and 58 species in nearby Hjoula, and 25 genera and 30 species in Nammoura, although it must be kept in mind that these figures will change with further collection and description. Hückel (1970) described the probable conditions of deposition at Hakel, with concentration of sediments in small basins, influenced by tectonic activity causing slippage at shelf margins. Hemleben (1977) invoked the probability of biological toxicity (“red tides”) and oxygen deficiency in the mortalities recorded in Hakel. Fishes are the most common and noticeable fossils at the sites, usually complete with scales. Hemleben (1977) noted that 87% of fish oval in shape lay in a stable position on their side, but 13% were found lying on back or belly. Often the fishes are strongly arched, with head and tail raised, and sometimes a telescoping of the vertebrae.

The Hakel fish layers have been defined as Cenomanian V, 95 Million years. The limestone is well stratified. The strata are variable inclined downward from 25 to 50 degrees to the West, but inclination is highly variable both in angle and direction; in addition, stratification is very irregular, as many micro-faults are present, and curved strata are often present. Chert is present in lenses and nodules, varying from few centimeters to 50 cm or more in diameter without concentric structure, often of irregular shape. The thickness of lamination is also variable from a few millimeters to 50 cm. the thickest strata are usually sterile. The color is also impressively variable from a pallid yellow to a brown-beige, to grey to near black. The limestone of this restricted area probably represents one of the richest deposits of fossil fish in the world. Mass mortality layers are relatively frequent; multiple fish slabs are regularly found in this locality. It is impossible to obtain very large slabs because the laminations of the richest strata are distorted and cherty deposits are frequent. Fish are the most common fossils, but crustaceans are also frequent. Plants and echinoderms are also present as rare finds. Bits and pieces of fossils are often seen in different layers at the edges of blocks which are not cut square.

The oldest written evidence about the Lebanese fossils dates back to the 4th century AC. Eusebe de Césarée, Bishop of Palestine, evokes these stones and considers them as the witnesses of Noah's deluge. The most famous mention of these sites is probably in 1248, where it is mentioned in the journal of one Sire de Joinville, a traveling companion of Louis IX, that during the king's stay in Sidon , a stone containing "the shape of a sea fish" was presented to him. Later, numerous studies: French, Italian, German and American followed to publish scientific papers about the quarry and some of the species discovered.

We preserve the site by using only manual tools such as hammers, chisels, picks and by avoiding all what can damage the stone as TNT. Experience has a key role to play in excavations but the role of luck is not to be neglected either, sometimes one stroke can reveal a very important specimen.

the quarry photo gallery