In the current exhibition, The Power of Poison, objects once believed to protect against poisoning are on display.
This spiral fossil comes from the shell of an ammonite, an extinct animal related to a modern nautilus. Such fossils were once known as “snakestones” because of their coiled shape—some artisans even carved snakeheads for them to enhance the resemblance, as seen above. In instances of snakebites and other poisonings, ammonites were thought to have curative powers.
Learn more about poison’s role in myth and legend.