Find Dinosaur Bones around Lewes!

As part of the Fossil Festival Sept 2016 in shop windows from Cliffe Corner up to by Gideon Mantell’s former house on the High Street there were eight pieces of iguanodon skeleton hiding in shop windows.Many thanks to the participating shops and entrants. The competition is now closed. See below for answers.

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The Iguanodon’s tail 

  • Clue – Down at Cliffe Corner you will find bags full of tall tales!
  • Answer – Many different books for children exist on dinosaurs at .

Gideon Mantell as a child in the early 1800s went to school at Dr Button’s Academy opposite Cliffe Church by Cliffe Corner and was a star pupil there.

The tail of the Iguanodon provided balance as it walked or ran but it also could act as a powerful weapon swiping aside anything attacking it from behind. So along with its thumb spike it could try and defend itself from predators.

The Iguanodon’s back legs


The three-toed footprints of iguanodons have been found all over the world and in the past people may have thought they were made by dragons. For local sites you can look around Hastings

The Iguanodon’s pelvis

  • Clue – Saddle up and ride off from here, let’s hope the saddle is big enough!
  • Answer – The Bike Shop at 39a Friars Walk is opposite the site of the original Lewes Railway Station. Gideon Mantell used to visit Lewes by train and would alight here.

There were debates about whether the Iguanodon walked on four feet or two. The pelvis gives us clues of the angle that the hip bones joined the pelvis that it could run on two legs with powerful back leg muscles. See for the detailed anatomy of dinosaurs.

The Iguanodon’s rib cage

  • Clue – Tickle his ribs… maybe just an ‘ickle bit more to find them!
  • Answer – This shop is just up School Hill where Clothkits used to sit

The finding and identifying of the iguanodon from small fragments like ribs or teeth is a story in itself but see here for more about the different types of Iguanodon. Read more about what is now called the Mantellisaurus after Mantell here

Recently palaeontologist Gregory Paul has moved our smaller southern England variety of iguanodon to a new genera, leaving us with only one Iguanodon the larger Iguanodon bernissartensis and a new genera of Iguanodontid called Mantellisaurus atherfieldensis (named after Gideon Mantell) in its place

The Iguanodon’s neck

  • Clue  – Sussex is where he was found but he wasn’t very interested in Stationary! 
  • Answer – Easy clue to find due to the dinosaur balloon in the window of Sussex Stationers.

The iguanodon needed to be able to reach up to trees to find his food to eat hence his long neck. He was a herbovore. His bones have been found in Kent, Sussex and the Isle of Wight. See here for where to find and see bones in Sussex.

The Iguanodon’s claw

  • Clue  Si says “Sounds like he would give you a spikey handshake coming up from the Station!”
  • Answer- Fittingly this clue can be found at Si’s Sounds in Station Street that was known as St Mary’s Lane when Mantell was born and raised up in what is now number 23.


This claw can be seen in the Natural History Museum At first Mantell thought it was a spike on the end of the Iguanodon’s nose.

The Iguanodon’s skull

  • Clue Down by the wishing well—Needlen’t be too difficult to find!
  • Answer – Find the clue with Mr Birch now in the basement at the Needlemakers at


This great gentle monster had muscle attachments to its jaw to show it was a plant eater. It had a bony beak instead of front teeth.


The iguanodon’s lower jaw and teeth

    • ClueThese teeth are not as big as a Castle but close! 

Answer – Lewes Castle and the Barbican Museum are near to where Gideon Mantell lived at 166 High Street and is where he was living when he found the very first Iguanodon tooth.

He named it Iguanodon as it reminded him of the tooth of an Iguana.


Original drawing here of first teeth found around 1822 that gave rise to the idea of a giant reptile. The library at the Barbican House Museum has some orginal Mantell documents that can be viewed by appointment .

See here for more information on the finding of the tooth. The tooth is now in New Zealand as Mantell’s son lived there and it was sent to him for safekeeping after he died in 1852


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