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Established 16/3/2000
StarSnail shells (molluscs) found at Newgrange Star
Free downloadable A3 PDF poster - see link below
Newgrange snail shells

The spiriform snail shells pictured above were among about 19 different species of land molluscs found in thin layers between much thicker layers of loose cairn stones during the excavation of Newgrange. It's not thought that the snail shells were collected intentionally by the builders - rather that the most abundant species would be "typical of a rock-rubble fauna". The theory is that . . . "the habitat provided by the loose stones of the cairn provided, for a snail, all the elements of shelter, shade, moisture, etc. to be found in a wood." (O'Kelly, 1982, Appendix F, page 227). And the theory suggests that the shells of the dead molluscs would have fallen down between gaps in the stones until they "landed" on these narrow "earthy horizons", the thin layers between the stones, where "death assemblages" were formed. 

Whatever way they arrived there, one cannot help noticing the spiriform shapes of the snail shells, and one wonders whether there is a connection with the spirals which are carved so magnificently on some of the most decorated kerbstones at Newgrange - namely K1, K52 and K67, all shown above.


Click here to download a PDF of the above graphic
All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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