London, October 05: Archaeologists digging up a car park in Staffordshire, UK, have unearthed a 17th century bottle used to scare off witches.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the witch bottle was discovered in a pit beneath a back room on the site of the Turk’s Head Inn at Tipping Street car park in Stafford.
The vessel is a mid to late 17th-century Bellarmine jug which would have been filled with the likes of nail clippings, hair, bellybutton fluff, pins and iron nails.
The period was full of superstition and they were buried near or under buildings to ward off witches or evil spirits.
Oxford Archaeology, which is undertaking the dig, will analyse the contents of the bottle to see what it contains.
“This is a very interesting find. People were very superstitious during this period and would put items which came from themselves such as nail clippings and hair into a bottle to protect them from witches and evil spirits,” said Andrew Norton, project manager from Oxford Archaeology.
“This would then be buried at the front or back door of a building or placed in a chimney to ward off witches or evil spirits. We are going to analyse what is inside the bottle to see what it contains,” he added.
The dig has so far unearthed some Anglo Saxon pottery kilns suggesting Stafford could have been a major player in the production of pottery.
Leather waste from shoe making has also been recovered from a large pit and shows a shoe maker was likely to have worked in residence at 14 or 15 Tipping street during the medieval period.
The dig is taking place as part of preparatory work that could pave the way for new offices and retail units for Staffordshire County Council on the site.