Stonerose: Digging Up History

Photo Courtesy of Stonerose Fossils

Let’s go back in time 49 million years to the Eocene Epoch when the northeastern Washington city of Republic was not a city at all, but an ancient lake that was home to various species of plants, insects and fish. Today, Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site in Republic has rich fossil records that remind us what this area used to be. Here, you have the opportunity to dig up history, literally!

Just beneath the surface of sedimentary shale (formed from volcanic ash hardened on the lake bed) lay the fossilized remains of both extinct organisms and species that are familiar to us today. As you dig for fossil impressions, staff members will be there to answer questions, guide you through your discoveries and identify the fossils you find. You can take up to three fossils home at the end of your visit. When you visit, bring goggles, long pants and money to rent digging equipment.

Fun fact: On very rare occasions, amateur fossil finders dig up unidentified species at the site. If the fossil specimen is determined to be an undiscovered species, the species is named after the finder.

When exiting with your treasures, take time to explore the rest of the town of Republic. For more information, go to, and to plan your visit to Republic, go to

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