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Lyme Regis shellfish pair set to bring back mollusc
LYME REGIS and its population of molluscs will become the focus of a new research project next month.
Martin Howse, 44, and Kathrin Guenter, 42, both from Berlin, will be arriving on August 30, to conduct scientific and artistic research into the common piddock – or pholas dactlyus – a species of the mollusc.
Mr Howse, who is originally from London, said: “We have completed the first stage of research and now we plan to get to know the mussel better in its natural habitat.
“Lyme Regis is a very beautiful location and has strong literary associations with the common piddock, with some shells found during an archaeological dig at the Holcombe site, a Roman villa by the river Lym.
“The common piddock appears to be quite common in the area, burrowing into the soft shale along the Jurassic Coast. It therefore seems a great place to start to understand this fascinating creature.”
The two artists have recently finished a research project into glow in the dark mushrooms and were first attracted to the mussel because it exhibits this same rare phenomena.
One of the main results they are hoping to gain from this project is to see if the mollusc could once again be seen on our dinner plates in the future. Mr Howse added: “The idea came up during research on inter species, human-plant-animal-fungi, communication last year.”
“I stumbled across an old scientific article that stressed its glow in the dark properties and the tasty qualities of the piddock.
“After some more research, I discovered there are some fascinating stories from Roman times of bath house parties where the tasty piddock was eaten, with the mouth, hands and breath of those who consumed the mollusc glowing bright blue. And that’s the reason for this project – I wondered why this once popular mollusc was no longer eaten.
“We hope to farm the piddock in its natural environment, and hope to pickle, dry and otherwise preserve a few examples from Lyme Regis to take to Copenhagen in late September for tasting.
“Far from a boring mollusc, as many articles proclaim, the common piddock is a pretty interesting creature from historical, scientific and literary articles, and we are really looking forward to coming over.”
If you would like to help or meet up with Martin and Kathrin during their stay in Lyme Regis email firstname.lastname@example.org