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Bronze Age shipwreck snails from Turkey: first direct evidence for oversea carriage of land snails in antiquity
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Bronze Age shipwreck snails from Turkey: first direct evidence for oversea carriage of land snails in antiquity

Author: F W Welter-Schultes
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Journal of Molluscan Studies, 74, no. 1 (2008): 79-87
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: F W Welter-Schultes
ISSN:0260-1230
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 362838656
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    schema:description "Thirty-six shells of terrestrial gastropods were discovered in underwater archaeological excavations of a Late Bronze Age (3,300 years BP) shipwreck at Uluburun, southern Turkey. Four shells were not related to the wreck and belonged to local species from the nearby coast. The other 32 specimens were accidentally transported with the merchant ship, which had sunk when sailing in a counterclockwise route from the Syro-Palestinian coast via Cyprus to the Aegean and then to Egypt. The Near Eastern endemic Xerocrassa langloisiana and the common eastern Mediterranean synanthrope Xeropicta krynickii were found in amphoras originally containing terebinth resin, destined for Egypt. The combined ranges of the two species and the morphological record point to a narrow area near the Dead Sea, more than 50 km distant from the Mediterranean coast, as the harvesting locality of the resin. A second group of land snails, partly determined as Xp. krynickii, must have been on board the vessel under different circumstances, attached to spiny bushes used to cushion the heavy freight and to prevent the planks from being damaged. The finds provide direct evidence that land snails have been carried on ships for more than 3,000 years, and underline assumptions that human-based oversea dispersal of anthropochorous species in the Mediterranean has occurred since antiquity. The results also show how much can be done if we possess a detailed faunistic knowledge of species distributions and shell morphology." ;
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