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Uncanny Archaeology of Halloween

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Author Topic: Uncanny Archaeology of Halloween  (Read 2305 times)
Vlad the Impaler
Superhero Member
Posts: 1791

« Reply #90 on: October 31, 2009, 12:06:03 am »

Compared with some English witch bottles, the American example has only modest contents. Quite commonly the pins found in English witch bottles were lodged in felt hearts. The pins even may have been arranged in magical patterns, for example, to form a hex sign. A bottle recovered from a construction site on Pottery Street in Suffolk, England, constitutes the richest witchcraft find. A stoneware bottle, in the usual inverted position, held a wide array off contents--some duplicated other Suffolk finds, but others were entirely unique. The bottle contained a piece of felt that had probably once been heart-shaped, six brass pins, human hair, and roughly 40 badly rusted nails of odd sizes. In addition to all of these traditional ingredients, it contained some more unusual objects including a common two-pronged table fork made of iron, more than 40 small fragments of glass, 24 brass studs with convex heads--possibly upholstery pins--and fragments of four flat wooden spills pointed at both ends and placed in the bottle last. This rather well-filled bottle had been stoppered with a plug of hard clay-like material exactly like another example found eroded on the banks of the Thames River in London. Analysis revealed that the Suffolk plug contained phosphate. The plug might have come from a trash heap or outhouse--or again, may have been originally permeated with the urine seeping out of the bottle. Over time the contents of witch bottles appear to have diminished in number until finally they contained only urine.
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