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by Archaeology Newsroom

Malacological material in archaeology

The study of sea shells and land snails found in excavations can lead to various observations on

a) the palaeoenvironment, the climate, the flora and fauna.

b) the palaeogeography of the site (shallow waters, lake or sea, re-constitution of the ancient coast line).

c) the economy and diet of the inhabitants (sea shells and their nutritive value compared to the meat consumed, consumption of sea shells in general and especially during periods of scarcity).

d) the day-to-day life, ideas and religious beliefs based on the utilization of shells, (shells are used as utensils, ornaments or purely symbolic objects, and are represented, painted or engraved on pottery, seals and frescoes).