Spiritual Middens: Decoys, Spirit Traps or Counter Witchcraft Measures?

Thu, 16 February 2023, 20:00 – 21:30 GMT

Online talk via Zoom

Archaeologists regularly discover large collections or ‘caches’ of clothing deliberately concealed within the fabric of 16th & 17th century buildings.

Much of the clothing is heavily worn, soiled and patched, showing numerous repairs whilst many of the objects have been deliberately broken or ritually ‘killed.’

The term ‘spiritual midden’ was coined for such a collection of objects. A well-documented cache was discovered during the demolition of the Old Plough Public House in Sittingbourne, Kent by two members of the Sittingbourne Museum team. Over 500 objects were recovered which included old & patched clothing, tools& children’s toys.

What do spiritual middens constitute? Foundation deposits? Sympathetic Magic? Apotropaic evil-averting agents? Were they considered to possess a protective function against incoming malevolent forces? Were they created to counter the witch’s familiar?

In an archaeological context, the word ’midden’ is used to denote not only a ‘rubbish heap’ but a deposit composed of specifically chosen and curated objects. In some instances, different objects are juxtaposed against one another to create new ‘meanings’ or ‘symbols.’

Learn more in,

’Spiritual Middens: Decoys, Spirit Traps or Counter Witchcraft Measures?’

Hosted by Viktor Wynd & the Last Tuesday Society

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