Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines a group of objects known as "witch-bottles"–stoneware jugs that were filled with ingredients, heated and often concealed as a means of curing bewitchment in early modern England. These bottles and their associated practice have played a central role in archaeologies of ritual, folklore and magic, but have not been seriously considered as a facet of medicine. This paper provides a thorough examination of the workings of the cure, the objects' social and spatial geographies, and a material and conceptual analysis of the bottles and their associated texts. Rather than seeking to displace the current narrative surrounding "witch-bottles" entirely, this paper addresses issues regarding the interpretation of these magical objects, and situates them within the history of healing.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5111
Print ISSN
1556-8547
Pages
pp. 227-251
Launched on MUSE
2020-12-10
Open Access
No
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