Ritual Marks on BBC’s Countryfile: Peak District

After apotropaics (ritual protection marks) featuring on a wooden object on the Antiques Roadshow, here they are again cropping up on an episode of Countryfile in the Peak District. Who’d a thunk it? The programme features the proposed restoration of a cattle field barn that requires – as its first step towards getting a grant – an archaeological survey. None other than our old friend Andy Bentham appears as Park Maintenance Manager to photograph the graffiti cut into the timbers of one of the ‘fodder’ bins. It is not completely clear but looks like a compass drawn circle of the 6c variety (according to the EMG Volunteer handbook). Andy explains its many possible functions – but there is now overwhelming documentation for compass-drawn variants in livestock buildings which now presents a good case for their deployment playing a powerful symbolic role to deter potential illnesses among domestic animals. Potentially, such a loss of livestock would have proven catastrophic for the farmer and his family. Nice one, Andy!

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