Eucalyptus leaves

Figure 1. Photographs showing Eucalyptus leaf impressions in concrete, a Australian $2 coin (20.5 millimetres diameter) is used for scale in these images.

Description & identification:

The Six impressions of leaves (~ 35 – 200 mm long) were found along the same concrete path ( Fig 1). The leaves seem to be extremely similar to leaves seen in the Eucalyptus genus however the exact species cannot be identified due to the leaves coming from trees out off the area most likely due to wind or phenomena carrying them to their final location. There are Eucalyptus trees located outside of the local area approximate 1/2 km away from the path that most likely are the source for the leaves.


All the leaves have similar preservation quality, all have clearly defined shapes. they all have elongated leaves with short stems that connected to the branch but are very short when it comes to width not only 10 mm or less. The stick is likely to belong to the same tree as it was found close to the leaves. All traces must have been formed years ago due to the age of the concert pour being more that 15 years ago for the leaves to preserves.


Figure 2. A map showing Heritage way the strip of path that preserved the leaf impressions.

Six Examples of Leaf impressions and one example of stick impression of a unknown Eucalyptus species were documented within 50m of each other in a several different concrete paths on Heritage Way. No other traces could be located within a 5km radius of the initial traces.

By P. Halls

Marsfield Bicycle tracks

Fig. 1 – Bicycle trace mark stretching roughly 1m on new cement sections of the Brown’s Waterhole Track


These tracks were located on the national park side of the Brown’s Waterhole Track right after the underpass which goes below the M2 motorway (see Fig. 2). The walking track begins at the end of Vimeria road and extends throughout the Lane Cove National Park with many exit sites through the local area.

Fig. 2 – Google Maps image of the Vimiera Road entrance to Lane Cove National Park and Brown’s Waterhole Track. The red circle indicates the location of bike track imprints.

Trace Fossil

These fossils were created by multiple bicycles being rode through wet cement resulting in the tread of the bike’s wheel to be preserved. There are two distinct and long bike imprints stretching over 1m although smaller bike fossils cross the corners of cement.

The substrate of the traces is a concrete/cement which is newer than the sections around it. This new section must have been more recently replaced judging by its weathering and colour compared to surround sections. The abundance of traces are limited to the one particular new segment. The cement must not have been completely dry at the time of track creation. Interestingly other fossils are present in the segment including foot prints and graffiti (Fig. 3).

By B. Reynolds

(Apologies I forgot this was still in drafts)

Marsfield, NSW

Marsfield, NSW, is a suburb of the City of Ryde local Government area within the North Sydney region. The suburb is built upon the traditional land of the Wallumedegal people. The suburb is a combination of highly urbanised areas including the M2 motorway, contrasted by nature strips, green spaces and the Lane Cove National Park.

Marsfield is predominantly a residential space but is also home to Macquarie University and the nearby Macquarie Centre. The area experiences high foot traffic as well as frequent outdoor recreationally activities such as cycling, skateboarding and horse riding. The nearby bushland facilitates a high natural biodiversity of native species of flora and fauna which often venture into the suburban area.


Most streets in Marsfield have concreted sidewalks on one or both sides of the road, occasionally being interrupted by driveways. The concrete varies in age and quality with some sections being old, degraded and weathered while newer sections are clean and sturdy. Brown’s Waterhole Track is mostly paved with a concrete pathway twisting through the bush, along the main track. Small offshoot tracks are not paved. The track has painted guide lines along the edges leading to some interesting trace fossils where material was painted over and later removed leaving the outline of the specimen in the paint.

Some sections of council strips and offshoot tracks are comprised of flat dirt and clay which becomes easily malleable after rain allowing for the preservation of impressions and traces in the substrate.


Surveyed areas follow along Vimiera Road and Waterloo road and into Lane Cove National Park on the Brown’s Waterhole Track. The recently cemented areas inside Macquarie University Village were also surveyed. Trace fossil photographs were taken across 3 approximately hour long walks (one recently after rain) in the developed suburb and the national park.

Impressions and Traces

The majority of observed trace fossils were created by human activities and were preserved in concrete (Fig. 1). Footprints were commonly found, sizes and shoe types varied. Some traces were only a single footprint while in some cases a full trail of footprints were found. Tire prints from bikes were also commonly observed along the upper track of Brown’s Waterhole Track (Fig. 1 – Images 3 and 5), which could be traced for ~5m. The tracks look similar to ancient invertebrate trackways like those of the Arthropleura!

Leaf impressions and outlines were also a common sight during the survey and species varied depending on the section. Most observed leaf traces appeared to be preserved in relatively recent concrete paving and were likely from nearby trees, some of which were still living in the area.

Some primative glyphs also appear in the concrete! The text translates to “YEH 20”, possible denoting the year of creation!?!?

Future Fossils

The Marsfield area has lots of activity from both humans and animals which can lead to the preservation of their movements in the future. Many native and non-natives species are seen to inhabit the suburb and neighboring bushland, including large animals like bush turkeys, dogs, horses and wallabies, to small animals such as finches, lizards, ants and wasps.

The footprints of dogs, horses and wallabies were observed within soft and recently wet clayey soil (Fig. 3). The dig sites and nests of bush turkeys are also observed and could become preserved as evidence of the turkey’s mischief within the bushland (and gardens).

Multiple insect colonies were seen in areas which may lead to their preservation. A best entrance of Myrmercia nigrocincta were seen in a low lying area susceptible to flooding (Fig. 4 -Image 1). A paper wasp nest was discovered fallen from its original home in the tree and laid partially buried in mud(Fig. 4 – Image 2).

Impression/ TraceDiversityAbundance
Leaf impressions (in concrete)15
Leaf impressions: Eucalypt2~20
Leaf impressions: She oak1~20
Leaf paint trace: Eucalypt23
Foot prints: human shoes43 tracks (of multiple prints), 2 tracks (individual prints)
Foot prints: birds22 tracks (1 bush turkey, one unidentified)
Foot prints: dog11 track
Foot prints: wallaby11 print
Foot prints: horse1~5 hoof tracks
Bicycle tracks22 tracks
Graffiti 11
Myrmecia ant nest1~5 entrances
Paper wasp nest11
Tally of observed future traces fossils found in the Marsfield area.

By B. Reynolds

Human handprint

Handprint in concrete

Area of trace fossil

Bexley North is a suburb in Bayside Council, NSW in Southern Sydney. In this area there is a popular bike riding and dog walking track that runs along Bardwell Creek. However there is a concrete footpath adjacent to the dirt track that runs along the creek. Over the past few years there have been restorations to the concrete footpath.

Trace fossil

During one of the restorations to the concrete footpath in this area, someone has created a human handprint in the wet cement. This has preserved into a trace fossil of a human handprint in the concrete of the footpath along Bardwell Creek, shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Human handprint trace in concrete substrate.

It cannot be determined when this handprint was formed in the concrete as there is not date etched into the concrete. It is also impossible to determine if this hand print was produced by a man or woman because hand sizes and shapes differ significantly within the population.

By Csilla Turcsányi.

Bicycle Tyre Imprint

Figure 1. Bicycle tyre imprint found in mud near swampy section at Reedy Creek, NSW. Top Right: Mountain bike tyre of property owner’s bicycle (Maxxis dissector). Bottom Right: site of observation, scale included.

Description and Identification

A continuous imprint of a bicycle tyre 50mm wide stretching approximately 80 metres along a muddy substrate. This type of imprint is found across a wide area within the study area, however is characteristically restricted to man-made tracks.

The trace could have been made by a variety of tyres as the owner of the property has a number of different tyres. The Maxxis dissector tyre, however, is the most likely tyre to have made this imprint. The imprints match the tyre layout, and the owner most commonly rides the bicycle that this tyre type is currently fitted too.


The tyre imprint is quite well preserved with impressions of individual tyre tread lugs visible in the mud. The traces are ~5mm deep in the mud suggesting a moist depositional substrate. No other imprints were observed ‘on top’ of the tyre imprints suggesting a relatively recent deposition.


5 well defined sections of mountain bike tyre were observed within the study area, with all of them likely preserved during the same period. All of these traces appeared to be the Maxxis dissector tyre type.

By C. McLoughlin

Heavy Machinery Tracks found in Kenthurst – Survey

Segment of trackway found. Grass has grown over the majority of the length making it harder to properly identify, tracks have been highlighted.

Description & Identification:

This trace consisted of a trackway found on a hill in Kenthurst that had been imprinted from a number of motorized vehicles, with the most profound set left by heavy machinery with nearby machinery found nearby, with the wheels matching the shape and distance between with the tracks. The entire length of the visible track were measured via step stride and are estimated to be 73.15 metres (96 steps) in length. Heavy machinery has been used around this particular presence for the assistance in moving large quantities of debris away as well as aiding in terraforming the area.

Heavy machinery found nearby. We were able to determine that this particular vehicle was the likely creator of the track prints judging by the shape of both the tracks and the wheels.


From initial observations seen, the presence of grass that has not been pressed or crushed, although noting that the size and abundance found in the prints is smaller, indicates that these prints, despite the track still in use by likely smaller vehicles, were made some time ago, showing impressively that during this time these tracks have withstood. This particular substrate this track was found in was a combination of strong compacted dirt and soft muds, suggesting a potential volatile environment that could eventually see the trace disappear in due time.


Although vehicles are commonly found and used throughout Kenthurst, traces are only produced when impacting on softer substrates such as gravel and dirt, with only heavier vehicles with larger tires leaving a substantial trace. From initial surveys, only one of these traces was properly identified, with other, smaller and less renowned traces were acknowledged. However this is likely due to our restrictions in only observing public spaces, as vehicles are more likely to move across softer substrates on private land, leading to the potential for more traces.


Survey Area:

Wollstonecraft is a moderatley sized suburb in the lower North Shore. It is bordered by the Pacific Highway to the North, Waverton to the East, Greenwich to the West and the Sydney Harbour to the South. Within its boundaries are a series of nature reserves and parks, which provide habitat for a range of species. Wollstonecraft is largely residential but also contains a train station and a small number of independent commercial buisnesses. The Wollstonecraft area is part of the traditional lands of the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation.

The Survey area was confined to the sidewalks of the main roads within Wollstonecraft, including but not limited to Shirley Rd, Telopea St and Milner Cres. 3 surveys were undertaken, each approximatley 40 minutes long. Each expedition was completed by myself and my canine companion.


Figure 1: Assorted substrates present in the Wollstonecraft area

Several substrates were present in the sidewalks along Wollstonecrafts main roads. These were mostly patternless concrete with varied amounts of gravel depending on age and location of the pavement. Outside some houses were patterned bricks (Fig.1) While fossils were not present in the patterned substrates, they were identifiable in the others, most common in the slabs without gravels, but not missing from coarser pieces. The park and reserve areas contained grass and dirt substrate but these sections were not sampled.

Impressions and traces:

Traces found within the survey area varied from plant matter to manmade etchings (Fig.2.) While fossils were found in all non patterned pavement, they were most common in slabs containing the least amount of added gravel (Fig.1) Eucalyptus leaves were the most abundant plant fossils in the area, likely due to the large numbers of gumtrees along the roads. Leaf fossils of other species (exact identification difficult due to poor preservation) were also present but not in simmilar quantities. Twig and suspected seed impressions were also present but were rare and could be attributed to regular surface erosion. One of the most interesting types of fossil were the adult human shoe prints. These came in a variety of patterns and included both left and right imprints. The most abundant impression were deliberatley etched letters and symbols. Most common were names and words using the latin alphabet, but numbers and unidentifiable symbols were also present. In one instance, a crudely drawn cardiovascular organ (see figure 2) accompanied a series of letters.

Figure 2: Assorted traces found preserved in concrete, located in the pavement alongside main roads within Wollstonecraft. Each picture is accompanied by a 30cm ruler and was taken by the author.
Leaf impression: Eucalypt39
Leaf impression: Other44
Assorted plant impression23
Human Shoe Print~47
Etched Drawing11
Etched Letteringn/alots

By: H. Anderson

Manmade Inscritpion in Pavement

A large inscripition of letters in the concrete pavement along Milray Avenue, Wollstonecraft.


A series of capital letters from the latin alphabet spell the name Sam. It measures approximatley 450mm long by 200mm wide. It was deposited in an urban environment and other inscriptions are apparent in the surrounding area.


The impression is deliberate and anthropogenic. The letters may represent the creators name or a reference to some other being. It is reasonably deep and must have been created early in the concretes setting.


Several other inscriptions were found in the surrounding concrete, mostly consisting of varied letters but also including varied drawings. The inscriptions are found on one slab, but others are visible in the surrounding streets.

By: H. Anderson


Muller Lane, Mascot NSW 2020.

Figure 1. Three leaf impressions (~2-3 cm wide) ( a), b) and c) ) in foothpah concrete found on 2 Muller Lane, Mascot 2020. Eucalyptus punctata tree (Grey Gum) and leaf on the ground, near the impression. Pencil (11cm long) for scale.

Description & identification:

The three leaf impressions (~2- 3 cm wide) were found in the same concrete (Figure 1). Green Canopy is being implemented in Bayside area, not being native species; however, it is extremely hard to determine diversity based on the leaf impression, and depends of the quality of the preservation. The suggestion here is the Eucalyptus punctata tree (Grey Gum), which is very common in the area and had the leaves fallen in the concrete, causing the leaves impression and a future fossils record.


The individual leaves have different preservation qualities, in which a) and c) have much more details and than c), which is not possible is possible to observe the petioles. The leaf impression b) have a more rounded shape than a) and c), however all leaves should have the same background because of the location. Also, the concrete should be very soft and recent pour for the leaf impression to preserve.


Three examples of leaf impressions are to be found in what is likely to be the same concrete pour just behind the Eucalyptus punctata tree (Grey Gum) on 2 Muller Lane, Mascot, and no other similar trace has been found around the neighbourhood footpaths and driveways.

By C. Coelho

Sawtell Survey-Human Graffiti

Graffiti left in concrete footpath in Sawtell NSW. An Australian 20 cent piece (23.60mm) is used for scale.

Description & Identification:

The trace consists of an intentional piece of graffiti carved a by human (Homo Sapiens). Graffiti such as this was by far the most common form of trace recorded in the survey area. This was not especially surprising. Humans are both numerous in the area and known to deliberately and often dramatically alter the environment around them. This particular example stands out as the most elaborate of all such traces. The graffiti consists of the letters LS and JS separated by the number four. This arrangement of characters is in turn surrounded by a stylized heart. A small symbol consisting of a series of crossed lines is etched next to the primary image. The image is probably intended as a form of courtship ritual, likely by a juvenile or sub-adult example of the species.


This trace stands out as likely the most well preserved of any piece of graffiti detected during the survey. Although the etching is relatively shallow it is clearly defined and shows minimal signs of wear. Despite this, some aspects of the trace are less well defined than others, with the J in particular appearing fainter than the remainder of the letters. Aside from this however the level of preservation appears consistent across the majority of the trace. The concrete the trace was found in appears more recent than the surrounding substrate, and the trace was likely left when the concrete was freshly laid.


Trace diversity across the survey area was very low in general, and human graffiti was by far the most common form of trace. Seven distinct instances of graffiti were discovered throughout the survey area, most of which were fairly simple in nature, consisting of little more than words or phrases etched into the concrete. This particular trace was by far the most elaborate example found.

By L.Royce-Haig