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Uncanny Archaeology of Halloween

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Author Topic: Uncanny Archaeology of Halloween  (Read 1880 times)
Vlad the Impaler
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« Reply #90 on: October 31, 2009, 12:06:57 am »

Another variety of witchcraft container is the glass phial which turns up in 18th-century contexts as a charm against evil creatures. Steeple-shaped phials were also buried upside down and have many antecedents in pre-17th-century contexts. Similar charms, for example, were buried by the Saxons in "wall roots" or foundations, and are mentioned in the famous volume of medieval treatises gathered together as "Saxon Leechdoms." Leechcraft, the art of healing, began as a complex mélange of herbal knowledge, folk remedies, and magic. One particular transitional bottle, worth noting, dates to the last quarter of the 17th century and is a bellarmine with horseshoe-like impression in place of the usual bearded face. This type was probably made when English manufacturers were successfully challenging German producers of bellarmines, a time when the traditional form was beginning to degenerate. After 1700, the shape of these jugs continued to change until they became similar to modern-day tankards. One Suffolk piece dating to the end of the 17th century has a triangular stamp replacing the mask and is decorated with stylized medallions.
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