Bearded men bottles could have been filled with urine and hair to ward off 17th century witches


A set of four salt-glazed bottles, adorned with stylized face masks of bearded men who seem to be showing varying levels of malevolence, could have been used as protective charms or as antidotes to witchcraft, according to new speculation surrounding the excavation of two Hampshire cottages in 1981.

Anne Leaver, who lived opposite the construction site for a British Telecom exchange building in Abbotts Ann, led members of the Andover Archaeological Society to the suspected former homes, where mechanical removal of surface layers revealed brick flooring and footings, a flint-lined wall and a bottle in an upright position beneath a hearth.

A second, inverted bottle was found under a hearth. Two more – one inverted, one upright – surfaced nearby, each containing a cork bung and reflecting designs from the early 16th century Rhineland, commonly found in England from the 17th century. Read more.

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The Sleepcoat League

Armchair anthropologist, sometime scribe, freelance philosopher, amateur artist, part-time poet, musical maven, alliteration aficionado.

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