This thread made me think of the modern day practice of sacrificing material objects and interring them in metal casing into the foundation of buildings. These "Time Capsules" are meant to communicate with our own future as an augury from the past. So really, how long has this ancient ritual persisted indeed?
On Mon, 8/5/13, linda speight <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Subject: Re: Foundation sacrifice
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, August 5, 2013, 5:46 PM
Off topic a bit, but these ancient rituals continued far
longer than we realise! I did some research into witch
bottles a few years ago and my father, who is in his late
eighties, remembers hearing people whispering about these
when he was a child. At the time I was doing the project I
discovered that witch bottles and associated traditions had
been transported to Australia and discovered in old houses
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'....and even
chickens...one example where the chicken had laid an egg
after being bricked up in the chimney! There is also a
tradition of burying an old boot under the hearth or putting
it up the chimney .......and I wouldn't be at all surprised
if that tradition isn't still being practiced in rural areas
Sorry....a bit off topic....but interesting!
From: Ian Evans <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, 5 August 2013, 4:28
Subject: [BRITARCH] Foundation sacrifice
This is to ask if any of you have encountered examples of
sacrifice of animals.
I ask because I have been informed very reliably of the
presence of the
bones of a cat beneath the stone front wall of an 1850
cottage in country
The find may be related to the building trade practice of
garments and shoes in voids within houses and other
buildings. But it
differs in that this animal was placed in the trench before
stones were laid.
I think it is remarkable that such an ancient ritual
survived until 1850
and that it travelled around the world to provide protection
occupants of a small house in the country.
I’m not yet aware of other examples of such sacrifices in
would be very interested to hear if similar finds have been
made in the UK.
Ian Evans, OAM, PhD
The Flannel Flower Press & World of Old Houses
PO Box 591
Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia 2482
Phone/fax 02 6684 7677 (+612 6684 7677)