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Fossil Folklore

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Ammonites:

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Ammonites

Southern England

In Keynsham, it is believed that St. Keyna, a devout British virgin who lived in serpent-infested woods, turned the serpents into stone by praying (Walcott 1779). In some other parts of southern England snakestones were believed to have been fairies, changed first into snakes and then stones (Nelson 1968).

Evidence that ammonites were once used for medicinal purposes can be found in the writings of Richard Carew (1555-1620) who recounted in his Survey of Cornwall that, '... the Snakes, by their breathing about a hazell wand, doe make a stone ring of blew colour, in which there appeareth the yellow figure of a Snake; and that beasts which are stung, being given to drink of the water wherein this stone has been soaked, will therethrough recover'.

   
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