spondylus | sharing archaeological resources for spondylus sp.

The journeys of Neolithic Spondylus by fotisif
January 13, 2015, 8:43 am
Filed under: publications

spondylus 2015

A new publication available via academia.edu

Nikolaidou, M. & F. Ifantidis, 2014, Ταξίδια του Νεολιθικού Spondylus: Αρχαιολογικές καταδύσεις στα βαθιά νερά της Αιγαιακής προϊστορίας [The journeys of Neolithic Spondylus: Archaeological diving into the deep waters of Aegean prehistory]. In Εκατό Χρόνια Έρευνας στην Προϊστορική Μακεδονία [A Century of Research in Prehistoric Macedonia] (ed. L. Stefani, N. Merousis & A. Dimoula), Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.


The shell of the marine mollusc Spondylus gaederopus exerted special fascination in many prehistoric cultures, already since the Palaeolithic. Objects crafted from Spondylus valves feature prominently in the Neolithic of the Aegean, the Balkans, and Central Europe. Recent excavations have demonstrated the principal role played by Northern Aegean communities in the procurement of this valued material, the crafting and circulation of manufactured products on a wide geographical scale. Items of adornment, exchange goods, burial gifts, costume accessories, symbols, tools; Spondylus artefacts emerge as essential elements of neolithic peoples’ identities, bringing together and binding individuals, communities and cultures.
Archaeometric, technical and experimental research on Spondylus finds, and the archaeological study of their fragmentation, recycling, destruction, and deposition, trace the multiple life cycles of this fascinating shell –from its natural existence on the sea bed to its multi-layered cultural consumption. The Spondylus “phenomenon” consists of a “network” of journeys, between nature and culture and among different spheres of prehistoric peoples’ experience. At the same time, ancient Spondylus becomes an excellent starting point and reference for in-depth explorations of neolithic societies. In this paper we chronicle these journeys of archaeological research into the Prehistory of Macedonia.


from the aegean sea to the paris basin by fotisif
December 19, 2013, 8:57 am
Filed under: publications, Spondylus studies

windlerPaper by Arne Windler on Spondylus trade and exchange mechanisms. Available here.

Parures de coquillages du néolitique en Europe by fotisif
October 23, 2013, 5:43 am
Filed under: publications

bonnardin“Parures de coquillages du néolitique en Europe (vie-ve millénaires av. J.-C.)” by Sandrine Bonnardin, in the special volume of Techniques & Culture (2012), dedicated to the journeys of shells, Itinéraires de coquillages.

The volume is available here

Ugurlu (Imbros Island) spondylus workshop (?) by fotisif
June 10, 2013, 6:22 pm
Filed under: publications


The excavation at the neolithic site of Ugurlu yielded significant evidence of a possible Spondylus “workshop”.  More info on this preliminary article.

Tell Kosharna Spondylus hoard by fotisif
March 18, 2011, 8:07 am
Filed under: publications

A hoard of flint tools and jewelry made from Spondylus shell found at Tell Kosharna is presented in the article Archaeology in Bulgaria, 2007-2009 by Ivo D. Cholakov & Krastyu Chulakev, published in the American Journal of Archaeology.

Cala Tramontana Spondylus by fotisif
December 12, 2010, 9:55 pm
Filed under: publications, Spondylus studies

New data from old collections: Neolithic shell ring bracelets from Cala Tramontana (San Domino, Tremiti Islands)
by Roberto Micheli

Available at http://portale.comune.verona.it/media/_ComVR/Cdr/Mus_sto_nat/Allegati/023-036_Micheli.indd.pdf


One of the most characteristic personal ornaments of the European Neolithic is the ring bracelet made of stone or shell. In Italy, it was employed between the Early and Middle Neolithic, that is between the middle of the 6th millennium and the second half of the 5th millennium cal. BC. Its diffusion was very wide in the Northern Italian regions over several cultural groups, but it is attested, to a lower extent, also in the Southern territories and in the islands. The paper presents the shell bracelets found in the Middle Neolithic settlement of Cala Tramontana, in the San Domino Island (Tremiti Islands), by Francesco Zorzi in the 1950s and now kept in the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale of Verona. It also considers some manufacturing remains of shell bracelets documenting a local production. Th ese data improve our knowledge of the techniques and skills employed in the manufacturing of personal ornaments during the Italian Neolithic.

Neandertal spondylus “symbolic” use? by fotisif
January 18, 2010, 8:38 am
Filed under: paleolithic spondylus, publications

“Two sites of the Neandertal-associated Middle Paleolithic of Iberia, dated to as early as approximately 50,000 years ago, yielded perforated and pigment-stained marine shells. At Cueva de los Aviones, three umbo-perforated valves of Acanthocardia and Glycymeris were found alongside lumps of yellow and red colorants, and residues preserved inside a Spondylus shell consist of a red lepidocrocite base mixed with ground, dark red-to-black fragments of hematite and pyrite. A perforated Pecten shell, painted on its external, white side with an orange mix of goethite and hematite, was abandoned after breakage at Cueva Antón, 60 km inland. Comparable early modern human-associated material from Africa and the Near East is widely accepted as evidence for body ornamentation, implying behavioral modernity. The Iberian finds show that European Neandertals were no different from coeval Africans in this regard, countering genetic/cognitive explanations for the emergence of symbolism and strengthening demographic/social ones.”

Article on the use of marine shells in two Iberian Middle Paleolithic sites, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by João Zilhão et al.