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The ultimate mystery – Margate Shell Grotto


An underground passageway which is decorated with estimated 4.6 million seashells is located in Kent, England.

According to a legend, in 1835 James Newlove and his son were digging a duck pond in Margate when they detected a hole in the ground.

Afterwards they discovered that the hole led to underground caves, which are linked by a number of underground tunnels. Walls of these tunnels were adorned with mosaics made out of estimated 4.6 million seashells.

Today, the Margate Shell Grotto is known as one of the world’s ultimate unexplained mysteries.

Shells that constitute wall ornaments include shells which are typical for that area, such as scallops, mussels, limpets, whelks, cockles, and oysters. Shell mosaic in the grotto is laid over more than 2,000 square feet.

As soon as the locals had widened the entrance into this hole, other amazing discoveries were made. Some underground tunnels led to a building with a round ground plan, which is known as a rotunda. Another discovery was an altar chamber completely covered in shells.

After the discovery, Newlove bought the land where the caverns were situated, restored it and Margate Shell Grotto was opened to the public eye. What makes these beautiful caves more interesting is the fact that the creator is still unidentified.

One theory claims that it was built more than 3000 years ago. According to one other theory, it was associated with the Freemasons or Knights Templar.

The grotto’s age of origin could be resolved using an expensive method of carbon dating. But, it is not recommended because it is quite costly and it would badly affect the shells.

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