An Exuberance of Shells

We’ve always been fascinated by them

Bronwen Scott
6 min readMay 15, 2024

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Festons, masques et rosettes de coquillages. 1656. Jan van Kessel the Elder. Collection of Fritz Lugt, Fondation Custodia. Public Domain

Blombos Cave burrows into the heath-topped cliffs of South Africa where ancient rocks are tilted and layered like books on a shelf. Today it overlooks a wave-sculpted bay and the ocean beyond, but 72,000 years ago the sea-level was lower and the waterline much further out. Along the rocky shore, the cave’s occupiers collected abalone, limpets, top shells…

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Bronwen Scott

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her. Website: bronwenscott.com