The sixth Lyell meeting of the Geological Society was held on 13 February 1992. Major themes included advances in the study of trace fossils with emphasis on ichnofabrics, and the use of skeletal accumulations (shell and bone beds), both in elucidating environmental change, and in sequence stratigraphy. Of the 12 papers read at the meeting, seven are published in this thematic set.
The papers presented cover topics which Lyell did not himself discuss at any length, with the exception of his classic study on the Temple at Puzzuoli. Nevertheless the theme of the meeting was aptly expressed by him: ‘Arrangements of fossils in strata: Each stratum in fact however far it may now lie beneath the surface was once in the state of shingle, loose sand or soft mud at the bottom of the sea, in which shells and other bodies easily became enveloped. By attending to the nature of these remains we are often enabled to determine whether deposition was slow or rapid, whether it took place in a deep or shallow sea, near the shore or far from land, and whether the water was salt, brackish or fresh’ (Elements of Geology, Chapter 3).
As well as honouring Lyell it was befitting to remember Robert W. Frey (University of Georgia, Athens) who died on 1 January 1992 following a long fight against cancer. Much of his considerable research output was directly in the fields covered at the meeting. Over the past 20 years he pioneered the study of animal-sediment