A Gift to NT Members From the Discovery Group

  

Category:  Photography & Art

By:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  2 years ago  •  14 comments

A Gift to NT Members From the Discovery Group

The Shell Grotto

Who is aware of this wondrous place?


Buried deep underground in small English town of Margate, Kent; is a grotto shrouded in complete mystery. Adorned with 4.6 million shells and 70ft of winding underground passages leading to a rectangular chamber, this shell grotto is undoubtedly a remarkable site to behold.

Story has it that in 1835, a laborer was going about his usual field work, but when he struck the soil with his spade, it sank into the earth. The farmer realized that he was standing on something hollow, but was unable to see anything from the surface. Word spread around town, and a local school teacher volunteered his young son, Joshua, to be lowered into the hole with a candle. Upon emerging from the mysterious cavern, Joshua described rooms filled with hundreds of thousands of carefully arranged shells.

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The Shell Grotto is adorned with symbols mosaiced in millions of shells, symbols that celebrate life as well as reminders of death. 

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The shell grotto hosts a passage, a rotunda and an altar chamber. 

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The shells in the grotto, include scallops, whelks, mussels, cockles, limpets and oysters, all of which can be found locally. However, the flat wrinkle shells must have been brought in from elsewhere.

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With so much intricate detail, on a rather large scale, one question still remains, who built this underground cavern? 

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Shrouded in mystery, some believe that the grotto once had religious significance - primarily due to the vaulted ceilings and altar spaces.

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Nobody knows how old the grotto is, but some theories about its origin date its constructions as far back as 3000 years ago. 

Another theory holds that the grotto was created as an aristocrat's folly sometime in the 1700s. This proposed explanation is validated by the fact that shell grottoes were actually quite popular in  Europe  in the 1700s, especially among the wealthy. The only catch to this theory, though, is that the grotto's location was on farmland - a land that had never been part of a large estate where follies would have been satisfied.  

Others believe that it may have been used as an astrological calendar in the past.

There are those also, who say that the grotto must somehow be connected with the Freemasons or the Knights Templar. 

Others believe that the grotto may date as far back as 12,000 years ago, maintaining that it is connected to a mysterious Mexican culture.  

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Its mystery has left people completely stumped, so much so that in the 1930s, some had held séances, in the hopes of contacting the spirits of whoever built the grotto.

Right now, it seems, we will not discover the truth behind this mysterious shell grotto. The age of the shells could be determined through carbon dating according to the Shell's Grotto website, but it's a pricey process and other conservation issues are currently being prioritized.   

One thing is clear though, the arrangement of the shells must have taken countless hours of painstaking work.  

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Unfortunately, many of the shells in the grotto have faded over time, losing their luster through water damage. In its early days, it would have been full of dazzling color. This recreation shows what they might have looked like at the time, and with over 4.6 million shells, it surely must have looked astonishing! 

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Since its discovery, the  Margate Shell Grotto  has been opened to the public, first by Joshua's father, the school teacher. In 1835 he quickly bought up the land and began renovating the grotto to make it suitable for visitors. Two years later, in 1837, the grotto had been opened to the public for the first time, and still enjoys visitors today.


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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  author  Buzz of the Orient    2 years ago

This article was posted more than 3 years ago on the Discovery group. If you are interested in seeing articles and photos of amazing places, or wish a place to post your articles and photos of your travels, that is the group for you.  If you are not already a member you can apply for membership by clicking on this link, and you may be accepted as a member.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
2  Raven Wing    2 years ago

Truly an astonishing and interesting discovery. The amount of time it took to put it all together itself is mind boggling. Even though the colors have faded over time they are still beautiful in their intricate artwork. 

Great find Buzz, and thank you for sharing with us. jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif  

 
 
 
luther28
Sophomore Quiet
3  luther28    2 years ago

Very cool stuff, thank you Buzz.

 
 
 
Jasper2529
Masters Participates
4  Jasper2529    2 years ago

Spectacular! The following article gives a little more information about this mysterious, fascinating place ... especially the dome.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jasper2529 @4    2 years ago

Thanks, Jasper, for posting that link - it underlines the mystery of the grotto, provides possible explanations.

 
 
 
Sunshine
PhD Guide
5  Sunshine    2 years ago

I would like to see that!  Thanks Buzz, I have never heard of this place.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Sunshine @5    2 years ago

Nor had I.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6  Kavika     2 years ago

Simply amazing. I'd never heard of this ''grotto'' before.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @6    2 years ago

It appears to have been a well-kept secret for many years - so secret nobody really knows why it exists - sort of like Stonehenge.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
7  author  Buzz of the Orient    2 years ago

Obviously the majority of members of NT think this fascinating gift of beauty and mystery must be a "Trojan Horse", as indicated by their ignoring it - or, judging from a lot of comments I've been seeing, ignoring me, even if it means passing on something that could be a distraction from their unalterable obsession with politics and/or religion.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
7.1  charger 383  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @7    2 years ago

I liked it and voted it up but didn't reply like I usually do.  I think a lot of people enjoy these articles but don't say anything

Keep up the good work

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
7.1.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  charger 383 @7.1    2 years ago

I know. I saw that you did. I look at the likes and the thumbs-up.

 
 
 
Jasper2529
Masters Participates
7.2  Jasper2529  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @7    2 years ago
Obviously the majority of members of NT think this fascinating gift of beauty and mystery must be a "Trojan Horse", as indicated by their ignoring it - or, judging from a lot of comments I've been seeing, ignoring me, even if it means passing on something that could be a distraction from their unalterable obsession with politics and/or religion.

I share your frustration and really don't know what to say other than the same happens to me when I seed articles to a specific group. Mine rarely, or never, gain traction and are never on the Front Page.

Examples:

  • A few days ago, I seeded an interesting article to your Books Group. One up-vote and 2 comments - all are mine. Of the politically diverse group membership, I recognize the names of over 20 active members.
  • I have also seeded to CB's Cancer Group, which also has an active and politically diverse membership. Not much traction there, either.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
7.2.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jasper2529 @7.2    2 years ago

Something HAS to be done to enhance the position of the groups of varying topics on this site.  When I see a group of which I'm a member rise to the top of the group lists on the right of the Front Page I know something new has been posted on it, but since my sleep time is opposite that of the vast majority of members I sometimes miss that indication when it's pushed down in rank.  If the powers that be would post an instruction guide as to adjusting one's settings, which I have been begging for, then group members would know to require group messages to be received, so group administrators could keep them advised of new and interesting articles/seeds being posted on their groups.  My request has been ignored for much too long.

The Books Group is actually not my group even though I have posted many articles/seeds on it.  It was taken over by Perrie at my request because the original admin ignored it, and I already administer 3 groups.

 
 
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