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What on Earth is a Spondylus?

0 August 12, 2012 in History by

You may have heard the term Ruta del Spondylus and Ruta del Sol used interchangeably. They both refer to the coastal road that runs from just outside Salinas in Santa Elena all the way up to Manta in Manabi province. But which came first, and what does it mean?

The original term is Ruta del Spondylus and it originates from the spiny conch shell (Spondylus Princeps Calcyfer) which was once plentiful in Ecuadorean waters. Now it has been fished almost into extinction, but in pre-Colombian days, it was one the primary foods and merchandise traded by the Manteño-Huancavilca indian culture 800-1500 AD.

The Manteño were voyaging merchants who sailed up and down the coast of South and Central American in balsa-wood rafts, trading their shells with other cultures. The Spondylus conch was used to make beautiful multi-colored ornaments, and it was particularly desired by Inka chieftains.

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Mark Cowtan
After nearly 30 years working in technology marketing in the UK and California, I emigrated to Ecuador, for a more balanced lifestyle and the luxury of living and working by the beach. Now, I help startups and small businesses with their Internet marketing.
Mark Cowtan

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