Treasure hunters to display a prehistoric bonanza


March 19, 2000|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILLIONS OF YEARS ago, prehistoric creatures roamed throughout the state. Although these creatures are long gone, traces of their existence can still be found.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, local treasure hunters Harry and Lee Biddinger and Jeff Strong will present objects from prehistoric Maryland at the Brooklyn Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Harry Biddinger has been hunting for prehistoric fossils in Maryland for two years. Most weekends, he and friends travel to Calvert Cliffs in Lusby to collect treasure. Biddinger has found fossils, a shark jawbone and countless shark teeth, including a 6-inch tooth from a prehistoric shark that is believed to be 28 million years old.

"This was the largest shark that ever lived. It was 55 feet long. A 6-foot-tall man could stand in its mouth. Today the Great White is its closest relative," he said.

Biddinger explained that Calvert Cliffs was once at the bottom of the ocean. As a result, it is a prime area for fossils and prehistoric shark teeth. It doesn't take a lot of effort to find them either.

"Actually, it's very relaxing. All you have to do is walk along the shore and keep your eye out for them. You have to develop an eye for it. Once you know what to look for you can find them. I wear hip boots and wade out into the water," he said.

Even during the winter months, Biddinger doesn't wear gloves; he likes to use his bare hands to pick samples out of the sand. "Seems that I have a permanent cold from this now. Some people use strainers for this, but I like to use my hands. You don't miss as much when you use your hands," he said.

Prehistoric items aren't the only treasures that Biddinger hunts for. He is also an avid bottle collector. He has mapped out the oldest parts of Baltimore and has been going on bottle digs for 18 years.

"I happened on this by accident. A friend who collected bottles asked me to go with him out looking when Martin Luther King Boulevard was being built. There were bottles everywhere. Bottles are harder to find now. I've had to dig down 20 feet to find bottles," he explained.

Despite his success at Calvert Cliffs, Biddinger is not satisfied. "My wish is to go out and dig for dinosaurs. I've been dying to find a T-Rex tooth or claw. South and North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado are prime areas for dinosaur digs. I don't know when I'll get to go, but I will go," he said.

At the library, Biddinger and friends will display their finds and share information on how anyone can embark on a hobby of treasure hunting. "I'm trying to get the kids interested in something besides getting in trouble. They can get their families and go only an hour away and find something that is millions of years old." The Brooklyn Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library is at 300 E. Patapsco Ave. Call 410-396-1120.

Olde Brooklyn Park

Olde Brooklyn Park Improvement Association will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Brooklyn Park Elementary School, Morgan Road and 14th Avenue. Capt. David Shipley, commander of the Northern District police station, will speak on police issues, including untagged vehicles and vehicles with expired tags, loitering and increased traffic on Morgan and Marshall roads.

Association leaders will also present information on the construction of the Ritchie Highway Shopping Center. All are welcome to attend. Call 410-636-3269 or 410-636-0352.

New York trip

There's still time to reserve a seat on the Brooklyn Park Alumni Association's bus trip to New York on May 6. The bus will leave at 6: 30 a.m. from the Bingo World parking lot on Belle Grove Road. Drop off in New York will be in the heart of midtown Manhattan at Broadway and 50th Street. Participants can spend the day shopping, sightseeing or taking in a Broadway show. The bus will leave New York at 7 p.m. and return at 11: 30 p.m.

Tickets are $30. Call 410-789- 7214.

Bingo party

The St. Rose of Lima Catholic School will hold the final bingo party of the school year Friday in the school hall. Doors will open at 6: 30 p.m. and games begin at 7 p.m.

Admission is $1. Extra bingo cards may be purchased at 5 for $1. The kitchen will be open. All proceeds will benefit the students of St. Rose. The school is located at 410 Jeffrey St. Call 410-355-6646.

Bible college concert

The Concert Chorale of the Baptist Bible College will present a concert of sacred and gospel music at 11 a.m. today. The 46-member group is directed by Larry Kaufman, chairman of the college's music department. There is no admission but a free-will offering will be taken.

The church will also sponsor a Young Adult Happening at 7: 30 p.m. Friday. The event will feature worship in song, a video and discussion of issues of concern to young adults.

All will then be invited to visit a local pizzeria and go out for late-night bowling. The only costs will be for the optional pizza and bowling. The Townsend Avenue Baptist Church is at Fifth Street and Townsend Avenue. in Brooklyn. Call 410-355-0347.

Women in history

The St. John United Methodist Church will celebrate Women in History Month on March 26. At the 11 a.m. service, the congregation will acknowledge as "Pillars of the Church" all female members 80 years and older. All faiths are welcome to attend. The church is at 6019 Belle Grove Road.

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