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Quahog Mercenaria Shell tool cultural preference for LEFT valves in FL

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  • Quahog Mercenaria Shell tool cultural preference for LEFT valves in FL

    If you walk middens along west central gulf coastal FL you will find they are made of mostly broken shells from food refuse. Among the eaten shells are clams, Mercenaria, the Southern Quahog. Some of the largest ever measured have come from small coves at the tip of my county, Pinellas.

    *** Native American Culture and Lifestyle Point**** For some apparently cultural reason (like right handedness??), they reserved the LEFT valve of the quahog for use as tools and the right valves are broken. I've walked middens after major storms and seen many quahog valves on the beach and at least 90 percent of the whole shells are left valves. Most if not all of these whole left valves are tools or are "blanks" for making tools. They made hammers and anvils, as well as choppers, scrapers, even cordage "reels", out of these valves. Over 90 percent of the quahog shell artifacts I have are Left valves. A lot has been written about this but there has never been a definitive answer as to why the use of the left valve over the right. I think it may just be right handedness... or perhaps the right side was the Evil Valve...

    They used the rounded top of the shell as a hammer/anvil, and with enough wear it will produce an indentation, even a hole. The edges of a clamshell is also chipped/knapped to make choppers. They are common artifacts around here.
    Professor Shellman

  • #2
    Good info, thanks professor.
    NW Indiana

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