The Jack Daulton Collection
Antique & Ethnographic Art

spondylus shell,



spondylus shell (Pacific thorny oyster, probably Spondylus princeps)

Mercado de Brujos (Witch's Market), Chiclayo, north coast Peru

width: approx. 13 cm (5 1/8 in.)

collected by Jack Daulton in Peru

The spondylus shell, from the waters off of the coast of northern Peru and Ecuador, has been important to Andean peoples since pre-Columbian times (indeed perhaps as early as the third millennium BCE), serving, among other functions, as an offering to the gods (especially to Pachamama, the earth goddess) and as a material of value incorporated into jewelry and other high-status personal adornment.    

See generally: Benjamin P. Carter, "Spondylus in South American Prehistory," in F. Ifantidis & M. Nikolaidou, eds., Spondylus in Prehistory: New Data and Approaches. Contributions to the Archaeology of Shell Technologies (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2011), Chpt. 6, pp. 63-89.
in Prehistory: New data and approaches. Contributions to the archaeology of shell
another view:
another view:
Jack Daulton
The Daulton Collection
Los Altos Hills, California