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The British and Irish Meteorite Society (BIMS)
A Mineralogist among the Meteorists

A personal view of the 10th Ensisheim Meteorite Show, 19th - 21st June 2009

This year, I was fortunate to be invited to prepare a small exhibition and give a presentation at the Show, described as a Cultural-Scientific Event in the circular, which was celebrating its tenth anniversary. The show is organised by the "St. George's Confraternity of the Guardians of the Ensisheim Meteorite" under the Chair of Dr Zelimir Gabelica. It is spread over three days and is housed in the historic surroundings of the Palais de la Regence, in the centre of the town. Ensisheim itself is situated in the Haut-Rhin Department of France in the Alsace Region about 15km N of Mulhouse and half an hour from the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg.

Palais de la Regence. Ensisheim

Three large rooms on the upper floor of the Palais, house the dealers who hail from across Europe, many of whom combine this show with the Saint-Marie-aux-Mines mineral show on the following weekend. A small exhibition area is housed downstairs in the Town Museum with a number of cases, including my own, set next to the Ensisheim Meteorite itself - quite an honour! In addition, there are lectures and talks on the Saturday and Sunday from invited guests. The show opened on Friday continues to Sunday. In the main square, Place de Eglise/Kerchplatz, there was an interesting exhibition of large dinosaur models in amongst which was set a recently found large iron meteorite (sorry no name or details) depicting the extinction of the dinosaurs by the Chicxulub Meteorite.

Main Dealer Room

The dealers provided an extensive and colourful variety of items ranging from cut and polished slices, whole masses, impactites and ejecta to jewellery, tools and literature. Increasingly, stones from the North West of Africa are coming to dominate the market. I was particularly drawn to some beautiful cut and polished slices of a silicated iron (NWA 5549). Also on offer were fragments of the recent "re-discovery" of the Pultusk Meteorite from Poland and some recent whole pieces of the Brahin from Belarus.

Although I am a frequent visitor to mineral shows where meteorite dealers are only one of a bewildering variety and number of vendors, having such a concentration of meteorite dealers in one area gives one a better idea of the breadth and depth of the market as it stands at present. There truly is something for everyone here.

Enthronement of the Guardians of the Ensisheim Meteorite

One of the most important aspects of the show is the enthronement of a number of new "Guardians". I was very honoured and fortunate to be bestowed with this award and was presented along with five other candidates on Friday evening at the official opening ceremony.

All in all, a very enjoyable weekend and, for me, a new whole new experience. I feel I have been given an education-by-immersion in meteorites by the people who know them well - the dealers, hunters and collectors.

Peter Davidson
July 2009

The Ensisheim Museum, Meteorite and National Museum Scotland Display
Image from inside the Ensisheim Museum, showing the Ensisheim meteorite (left) and National Museum Scotland meteorite display (right).

Below are a number of additional images Peter provided of the Ensisheim meteorite, the Ensisheim meteorite monument and some of the amazing historical meteorites on display in the NMS case at the show. Regarding the monument Peter added "This was set up by the Confrerie St-Georges des Gardiens de la Meteorite d'Ensisheim in 1992 on the 500th anniversary of the fall. The monument is situated at a lay-by on the D201 Ensisheim to Mulhouse road about 5km from Ensisheim. It is not the exact spot, rather it was estimated by examining contemporary reports and images to place the site with reference to landscape features that could be identified."

Ensisheim Meteorite (1492, France) Ensisheim meteorite fall monument Ensisheim meteorite fall monument plaque
Crumlin meteorite (1902, Northern Ireland) L'Aigle meteorite (1803, France) Mauritius meteorite (1801, Mauritius)
Cold Bokkeveld (at top) and Mauritius (1838, South Africa and 1801, Mauritius) Strathmore meteorite (1917, Scotland) Weston meteorite (1807, USA)