• The Agate Fossil Hills where mammal fossils were excavated in the early 1900's

    Agate Fossil Beds

    National Monument Nebraska

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    If you cannot reach the park by phone, please click the Contact Us link on the left side of this page to email a ranger. Staff will call or email back during business hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where's the agate?
    James Cook named his ranch "Agate Spring Ranch" possibly after the local moss agate. Examples of the local agate can be seen in the Visitor Center, but are not a prominent feature of the park.
  • Can I see real fossils?
    Several fossils can be found in exhibits along some of the monument's trails. Exhibits in the visitor center contain a few real fossils and many plastic resin replicas.
  • Are they still digging?
    There are no actual excavations currently happening or planned. Museums already contain many fossils taken from this site for further study.
  • What if I find a fossil?
    This is a national monument, so all animals, plants, and rocks (including fossils) are protected by law and cannot be removed or harmed.
  • What about rattlesnakes?
    Prairie rattlesnakes are a normal part of grasslands found at Agate. They are rarely seen and normally try to avoid humans, but encounters do happen.

Did You Know?

The Fossil Hills, containing the main excavation sites. Carnegie Hill on the right, and University (of Nebraska) Hill on the left.

At Agate Fossil Beds many years separated different excavations. In 1981 University of Nebraska scientists screened the soil near a 1908 Carnegie excavation site and found a beardog tibia fragment fitting one found in the earlier dig. This site also revealed actual beardog dens. More...