Many history buffs would be thrilled if 2020 yields even half the number of archaeological finds as exciting as those that were discovered last year. 2019 was a bumper year for amazing discoveries, the most fascinating of which offer glimpses into worlds long gone.
Here are highlighted just a few of the finds that made headlines.
19th Century Witch Bottle
One of the most interesting artefacts found last year was a witch bottle that dated to a period in which belief in witchcraft was uncommon. Discovered in a chimney in a former pub and inn by contractors in Watford, UK, the bottle and its contents were hidden as a protective charm during the 1830s.
The contents include human teeth, pieces of glass, fishhooks, and a liquid that may be urine. People who had faith in such charms believed that any evil spirits sent to target them would be fooled into believing the bottle was the victim. The spirits would then become trapped by the hooks and broken glass. Witch bottles were popular between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Buried Iron Age Celtic Woman
The remains of an important Iron Age Celtic woman buried in a hollowed tree trunk were discovered by archaeologists who were assisting with the renovation of a school in Zurich, Switzerland. The discovery must have made them feel like a player who wins big while enjoying Australian real money bingo, because it is just as exciting.
According to the city’s urban development office, analysis indicated that the woman, who was buried sometime around 200 B.C, had enjoyed a sweet and starchy diet, and that she had not done much physical work. Furthermore, she had been dressed in a woollen dress and a sheepskin coat and shawl. Her coffin also contained bracelets and a belt chain made of bronze, and a necklace of glass and amber.
Pompeiian Sorceress’ Kit
The EU-supported Great Pompeii Project has continued to uncover truly remarkable finds in the ruins of the ancient Roman town destroyed by the eruption of nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius. One that no one probably expected to see was a kit of charms and other objects that possibly belonged to a sorceress.
Among the 100 or so items in the kit were crystals and gems, mirrors, small dolls, scarabs, skulls, and phallic objects. Archaeologists and historians think the items may have been used for healing, love magic, and fortune telling.
Abandoned Japanese Settlement In Canada
Sometime in the first four decades of the 20th century, an unknown number of Japanese Canadians established a settlement in the North Shore Mountains of British Columbia. At the time, Japanese people could not vote, practice law, or enter civil service in the country, so it is likely that the settlement was an attempt to escape systematic and other forms of racism.
The settlement, which included houses with gardens, a bathhouse, a place of worship, and a water reservoir, appears to have been abandoned abruptly. Capilano University’s Bob Muckle, who found the ruins last year, said that the inhabitants were probably sent to camps or prisons sometime around 1942.