Dragons’ Teeth and Thunderstones

The Quest for the Meaning of Fossils

Kenneth J. McNamara

Dragons’ Teeth and Thunderstones

Kenneth J. McNamara

Distributed for Reaktion Books

288 pages | 70 halftones | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4
Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9781789142907 Will Publish September 2020 For sale in North and South America only
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.
Review Quotes
Douglas Palmer, author of "A History of Earth in 100 Groundbreaking Discoveries"
“McNamara opens window after window on the use and interpretation of fossils by different cultures from Ireland to Australia over the millennia and up to the present. Through the strange medieval mythologies of dragons’ teeth, stone swallows, toadstones, thunderstones, snakestones, and devil’s toenails, an even more ancient tradition is uncovered.”
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