Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.
Depth range (m): 3.5 - 15
Temperature range (°C): 17.140 - 17.140
Nitrate (umol/L): 0.211 - 0.211
Salinity (PPS): 37.926 - 37.926
Oxygen (ml/l): 5.513 - 5.513
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.131 - 0.131
Silicate (umol/l): 1.247 - 1.247
Depth range (m): 3.5 - 15
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Spondylus gaederopus, common name European thorny oyster, is an edible marine bivalve molluscs in the family Spondylidae. This species occurs in the Black Sea, in the Mediterranean and in the adjacent Atlantic.
Spondylus gaederopus have a shell reaching a length of 60–125 millimetres (2.4–4.9 in), covered with long, flat and irregularly arranged spines; the upper valve is usually purple, the lower white.
They live in shallow water and on the rocky seadbed at a depth of about 50 m. The colonies of this very common mollusc declined in the early 1980s for unknown reasons.
Use in archeology
Archaeological evidence shows that people in Neolithic Europe were trading the shells of Spondylus gaederopus to make bangles and other ornaments as long as 5,000 years ago (evidence from the Varna necropolis). The shells were harvested from the Aegean Sea, but were transported far into the centre of the continent.
A specimen of Spondylus gaederopus was discovered in the Cueva de los Aviones, a limestone cave on the edge of Cartagena in Spain. On the inside of the 50,000 year old shell there were residues of pigment from hematite, which, together with other finds of pigments in the cave, have been interpreted as the first evidence of colored jewelry from Neanderthals in Europe.
Spondylus gaederopus from , Mediterranean Sea, Spain, Costa Brava, shown is the upper valve from outside (with quite short thornes) and the inside with the hinge-line
Spondylus gaederopus at The Hallwyl Museum
- Poppe & Goto, European Seashells Vol. II
- Ifantidis, Fotis & Marianna Nikolaidou (eds.), Spondylus in Prehistory: New Data and Approaches – Contributions to the Archaeology of Shell Technologies, 2011. OIxford: Archaeopress.
- Zilhão et al. Symbolic use of marine shells and mineral pigments by Iberian Neandertals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 107 (3), 2010
- Sepkoski, Jack Sepkoski's Online Genus Database
- Paleobiology Database
- Halstead, Paul. 1993. Spondylus shell ornaments from late Neolithic Dimini, Greece: specialized manufacture or unequal accumulation? Antiquity 67(256): 603–609.
- Ifantidis, Fotis. 2006. Enigmatic notched Spondylus ornaments from the Neolithic: New evidence from the Aegean. The Archaeo+Malacology Group Newsletter, Martio, numerus 9.
- Séfèriadès, M. L. 2000. Spondylus gaederopus: some observations on the earliest European long distance exchange system. In Karanovo III: Beiträge zum Neolithikum in Südosteuropa, ed. S. Hiller et V. Nikolov, 423–437. Vindobonae: Phoibos Verlag.
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