Shells and Bone

Locally found Cowrie Shells were the first recorded currency used on the continent of Africa, dating from many thousands of years ago. These pages contain Shell and Bone items, both used in antiquity and for their present day decorative purposes.
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The latest finds are of 13 shell beads in the Grottes des Pigeons, a Middle Palaeolithic rock-shelter located in eastern Morocco containing a 10 meter thick deposit of archaeological occupations that have been excavated several times since its discovery in 1908. They were found in a layer dated to 82,000 years ago. Evidence from the beads themselves indicates they were collected as dead shells, carried over 40 kilometres, perforated so that they could be worn and coloured with some kind of ochre stain. These beads are the oldest explicitly symbolic artefacts recovered to date and are the same type as the slightly later beads recovered from the Howiesons Poort assemblages at Blombos Cave in South Africa. Information source

Click on the Pictures or Links below to be taken to the relevant pages

Marine and Freshwater
Shells

Cowrie Shell
 "Choker"
Necklaces and
Leather Belts

Modern
Shell
Necklaces

Mauritanian
Decorated Conus
Shell Singles
 
Strands

Freshwater Shells
Large
Collection
from
The Gambia

Matching Shell Collections
from the
Casamance

Ancient Shell
Collections
from
Mali

Dyed Coral
from
Benin

Ostrich and Mussel
Shell beads from
The Skeleton Coast of Namibia
and
Wholesale from
Swaziland

Decorated Bone
and
Fish
Vertebrae
Collections

Large Collections
for D.I.Y.
Projects

Dolphin Teeth
from
The Gambia

West African
Land Snail
Shells

Historic
Ostrich Egg
and
Cowrie Shell Collections

Cow Bone
from
East Africa

Cow Horn
Traditional
Casamance
"Hippo Teeth"
Necklace

Bone & Tusk
Beads
from
West Africa

Wild Boar
Tusks

Bush Pig
Tusks
Reference page

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