Edible land snails.. a staple of the ancient Mahgrebian diet.

Not just the French then. Huge mounds of snail shells are found all over North Africa, usually called escargotières. These are refuse piles for the shells of the eaten snails. The oldest date to over 10,000 years old.


Fig. 1. Approximate location of some sites discussed in the text. Open circles represent sites or levels dated to the late Pleistocene (i.e. older than c. 10000 BP) ; filled circles are sites or levels dated to the early and mid-Holocene. The hatched areas, the limits of which are estimated, mostly contain sites that would be represented by filled circles. a, the main region for Capsian escargotières ; b, the Pyrenean region and southern France in which there are many sites containing abundant land snails ; c, the northeastern Adriatic region which also contains numerous such sites. Individually numbered sites are : 1, the Muge middens – B Moita do Sebastião, Cabeço da Arruda, Cabeço da Amoreira – B where land snails appear to be found only with human burials ; 2, Nerja Cave ; 3, Ifri n’Ammar, Ifri-el- Baroud, Taghit Haddouch, Hassi Ouenzga ; 4, Taforalt ; 5, Afalou bou Rhumel, Tamar Hat ; 6, Grotta di Pozzo, Grotta Continenza ; 7, Grotta della Madonna, Grotta Paglicci, Grotta di Latronico ; 8, Grotta dell’Uzzo, Grotta di Levanzo, Grotta Corruggi ; 9, Rosenburg ; 10, Pupi´ cina Cave and other Istrian sites ; 11, Donja Branjevina ; 12, Foeni Salas ; 13, Cyclope Cave ; 14, Maroulas ; 15, Franchthi Cave ; 16, Haua Fteah ; 17, Laspi VII ; 18, Hoca Çesme ; 19, Ilıpınar ; 20, Öküzini Cave ; 21, Kissonerga Mylouthkia ; 22, Ksar ‘Akil ; 23, Djebel Kafzeh, Hayonim Cave, Erq el-Ahmar, Mugharet ez-Zuitina, Ein Gev ; 24, Asiab, Gerd Banahilk, Jarmo, Karim Shahir, Nemrik 9, Palegawra, Tepe Sarab, Shanidar Cave layer B, Warwasi, Zawi Chemi Shanidar.

Are land snails a signature for the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition?

Prehistoric edible land snails in the circum-Mediterranean : the archaeological evidence.


2 responses to “Edible land snails.. a staple of the ancient Mahgrebian diet.

  1. These are also a staple of the modern Maghrebian diet!

    Expat 21

  2. I forgot to say I live in Morocco.

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