Linda Speight wrote:
>Off topic a bit, but these ancient rituals continued far longer than we realise!... There are examples in England of mummified cats etc. found bricked up in chimneys of old houses in England (see Ralph Merrifield 'The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic'....<
This rather begs the question - just how 'ancient' are such rituals?
In his discussion of 'mummified cats', Ralph Merrifield noted possible examples from the 16th century - but commented 'In archaeological excavation, foundation deposits are for obvious reasons more frequently encountered than ritual deposits placed higher in buildings.' But he goes on 'we must assume that protective magic has always been applied to vulnerable roofs... and to chimneys.'
Is it just the rarity of surviving buildings from before the 15th century with suitable hollow structures to place dead cats in that has led to a lack of discoveries - or did the custom only start with the first brick-built chimneys and fireplaces and cavity walls? Where did you place your dead cat in an open-raftered Anglo-Saxon hall?
Did animals in the walls replace animals in the foundations?