What Were Shells Used for in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, shells were used for a variety of purposes, ranging from currency to decoration. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which shells were used by ancient societies.

Shells as Currency

One of the most well-known uses of shells in ancient times was as a form of currency. In fact, some societies used shells as currency long before the invention of coins or paper money. For example, Native American tribes such as the Wampum used shells such as quahog and whelk as a form of currency.

Shells in Art and Decoration

Shells have also been used for thousands of years in art and decoration. In ancient Egypt, for example, shells were often used to create intricate jewelry and other decorative objects. Similarly, in ancient Greece, shells were sometimes incorporated into pottery designs.

Shells as Tools

Shells have also been used throughout history as tools. For example, Native American tribes would use clamshells to scoop out canoes or to dig holes in the ground. In addition, some societies used shell knives for cutting and carving.

Shells in Religious Practices

Finally, it’s worth noting that shells have played an important role in many religious practices throughout history. In Hinduism, for example, a conch shell known as the Shankha is considered sacred and is often blown during religious ceremonies. Similarly, certain indigenous African religions incorporate shells into their rituals.

  • The Bottom Line:

Overall, it’s clear that shells have played an important role in human society for thousands of years. Whether they were being used as currency or decoration or tools or religious objects, shells have always held a special place in human culture. So next time you come across a shell on the beach, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and cultural significance behind this seemingly simple object.