This is a cockleshell made from tin which dates to around 1450 and would have purchased by someone walked a camino to Santiago de Compostela. I didn’t purchase any little trinkets when I walked there as part of a camino a few years ago, but it was the sort of thing that Bev liked collecting up to nail on her walls at home alongside the dead squirrel or whatever it is. Looking at this item dating from so long ago did bring back some happy memories of my brave pilgrimage.
I’m posting this really to show off my new knowledge about the camino, which is that there are estimates of 100,000 to 500,000 people a year completing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the middle ages. This is a ferociously large total, not that far off the number who walk it today and I discovered recently on YouTube how many English people went to walk this route. They would purchase or acquire a list of locations that they needed to visit and simply seek directions to the next village or town when they reached the previous one. Who needs Google Earth with a strategy like that? It meant that a lot of relatively poor people were completing this pilgrimage route and it is thought that theft from these pilgrims along the way was relatively rare. Theft inevitably happened, but the main issue for many was the rather challenging nature of the walk without resilient clothing and shoes. I’d say though that the bravery someone must have had to embark on this adventure must have been substantial and it would have taken a long time without Ryanair to fly them to a location relatively near to the start.