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Ostraco (sea shell in English) is the hard protective outer case of a mollusc or crustacean.


The first known scientific research of seashells begins in Ancient Greece during the 4th century B.C. from Aristotle (pioneer zoologist and philosopher).

Moreover, according to Greek Mythology, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love & Beauty, emerged from the sea through an Ostraco.

During the 15th century B.C., in the cities of Tyros and Sidona, a particular kind of Ostraco (sea shell) was used for the red-purple dyeing of the garments and later on for the Roman and Byzantine emperors' tunics.


In the Numismatic Museum of Athens, one can find coins which depict seashells and were widely used in ancient times.

Ostraco (sea shell) was used as a mean of transaction by people in antiquity as well as by various African tribes. Therefore, it was named "Native Money". The first oval metal coin that was created in Lydia in 670 BC was shaped like the Cypraedae shell. Cyprus Cypraea moneta was used by African indigenous people. In East Africa it has been reported that "once a wife would cost two Cypriots". The ancient Aztecs used to pay their Emperor Montesuma using shells.


The Ostraco (sea shell) “Pecten Jacobaeus”, was a religious symbol introduced by Apostle James, an emblem found in the sculpture, painting and Renaissance architecture. In the Christian religion, Pecten Jacobaeus symbolized purity, resurrection, redemption and forgiveness.


The primitive people on the continent of Africa put small seashells on belted wraps worn around their bodies when performing rituals and dances, up to this day. Throughout the centuries the Ostraco Triton (Charonia Tritonis), commonly known as “buru” was used as a musical instrument. This name derives from the God of the seas Triton, the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite.