Museum Koenig, Bonn (07.–09.12.2012)

The 2012 spring campaign of sub-project C2 in Ifri n'Etsedda, NE-Morocco yielded an enormous amount of snail shells thought to represent the remains of prehistoric diet.

Read MoreShells of marine and terrestrial molluscs from archaeological sites have long been an underestimated category. They may provide information about environment and subsistence strategies. Due to their limited mobility, land snails reflect the environmental conditions of a particular habitat and indicate changes in very sensible way. Rainer Hutterer (Museum Koenig, Bonn) was able to identify several changes in temperature and humidity during the last 20,000 in the area of the Eastern Rif.

On the other hand, molluscs are a reliable source of protein and accessible to every member of a forager group. For the groups which occupied Ifri n'Etsedda during the Neolithic, land snails seemed to provide one of the main food resources. The approximately 3 m3 of sediment excavated in 2012 yielded more than 100 kg of snail shells, mostly of 6 edible species. In a workshop headed by Rainer Hutterer and Jörg Linstädter from 07.–09.12.2012, students from the Universities of Cologne and Tübingen learned how to determine and document land snails, and gain a better understanding of the role that they played for prehistoric settlers in semi-arid NW-Africa.

 

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Neolithic deposits with snail shells (grey-white particles).
Photo: Hennig Hundsdörfer
  C2 Linstaedter-2 Fig-2-lhk 250px Excavated snail shells.
Photo: Jörg Linstädter
     
C2 Linstaedter-2 Fig-3-lhk 250pxStudents determining snail species at the Museum Koenig, Bonn.
Photo: Jörg Linstädter
  C2 Linstaedter-2 Fig-4-lhk 250pxA close-up view of different snail types.
Photo:
Rainer Hutterer

Project

 

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RWTH Aachen University

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