Dragons' Teeth and Thunderstones: The Quest for the Meaning of Fossils

Dragons' Teeth and Thunderstones: The Quest for the Meaning of Fossils

by Ken McNamara

Hardcover(New edition)

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For at least half a million years, people have been doing some very strange things with fossils. Long before a few seventeenth-century minds started to decipher their true, organic nature, fossils had been eaten, dropped in goblets of wine, buried with the dead, and adorned bodies. What triggered such curious behavior was the belief that some fossils could cure illness, protect against being poisoned, ease the passage into the afterlife, ward off evil spirits, and even kill those who were just plain annoying. But above all, to our early prehistoric ancestors, fossils were the very stuff of artistic inspiration. Drawing on archaeology, mythology, and folklore, Ken McNamara takes us on a journey through prehistory with these curious stones, and he explores humankind’s unending quest for the meaning of fossils.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781789142907
Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date: 10/29/2020
Edition description: New edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 546,197
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ken McNamara is a paleontologist and former director of the Sedgwick Museum at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Shapes of Time and The Star-crossed Stone.

Table of Contents

1 A Timeless Obsession 7

2 In the Myths of Time 26

3 The Stuff of Legends 52

4 Fashioning the Stone 72

5 Delighting the Mind 101

6 Saving the Soul 125

7 Protecting the Body 150

8 Curing the Body 177

9 The Dark Side 201

10 A Joke of Time 223

Epilogue 250

References 254

Bibliography 275

Acknowledgements 277

Photo Acknowledgements 279

Index 281

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