Philobiblon: That Eureka moment

Saturday, October 02, 2004

That Eureka moment

Yep, I'm back, and I was very good: I stayed away from blogging all week. I do think holidays are meant for getting away from it all.

Tonight, having arrived back in bleak rainy London, having had a wrestle at the door of my flats with a guy pushing his way in through the security door, having called the cops and after I'd spelt out the address three times giving up on them, I thought I'd share the "eureka" moment of my holiday. It was a very small thing, but I enjoyed it.

Walking along the beach at La Grau du Roi (near Montpellier)I came across what looked very like the shell of a land snail, but it had obviously been washed up from the sea. Eureka I thought, for it exactly matched an image on a replica of a 1,500BC Mycenaean cup with which I have been doing handling at the British Museum (with the Troy exhibition, now concluded). When we were doing the training, the image of snail was pointed out (together with the more prominent octopus and dolphins), and I'd thought "sea-snails, uh?"

You don't get shells like these in Australia, so it seemed odd, but like many things you'd like to understand but never get around to exploring, it had passed me by. Now here was the answer under my feet.

Sorry if it doesn't sound very exciting, perhaps you had to be there. Since you weren't, however, you might like to explore all about snails at this site.

I can't point you to a picture of the cup itself, but if you want to see some lovely Mycenaean things here's a nice place to start.

P.S. Yes I had a lovely holiday and I'm sure London will look better in the morning.


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