This book looks at aspects of the continuation of witchcraft and magic in Europe from the last of the secular and ecclesiastical trials during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, through to the nineteenth century. It provides a brief outline of witch trials in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland. By the second half of the seventeenth century, as the witch trials reached their climax in Sweden, belief in the interventionist powers of the Devil had become a major preoccupation of the educated classes. Having acknowledged the slight possibility of real possession by the Devil, Benito Feijoo threw himself wholeheartedly into his real objective: to expose the falseness of the majority of the possessed. The book is concerned with accusations of magic, which were formalised as denunciations heard by the Inquisition of the Archdiocese of Capua, a city twelve miles north of Naples, during the first half of the eighteenth century. One aspect of the study of witchcraft and magic, which has not yet been absorbed into the main stream of literature on the subject, is the archaeological record of the subject. As a part of the increasing interest in 'popular' culture, historians have become more conscious of the presence of witchcraft after the witch trials. The aftermath of the major witch trials in Dalarna, Sweden, demonstrates how the authorities began the awkward process of divorcing themselves from popular concerns and beliefs regarding witchcraft.
Beyond the witch trials
Counter-witchcraft and popular magic
The archaeology of counter-witchcraft
and popular magic
One aspect of the study of witchcraft and magic, which has not yet been
absorbed into the main stream of literature on the subject, is the archaeologicalrecord of the subject. Objects such as witch-bottles, dried cats, horse skulls,
shoes, written charms and numerous other items have been discovered concealed inside houses in significant quantities from the early modern period
until well into the twentieth century. The locations
factors as local and regional politics, religion, family and wealth. Material and social things like dress, weapons, wealth, children and the past were reflections of that contemporary attitude. This complexity is hard to see in the archaeologicalrecord, because individual approaches to life course, gender or status cannot capture that relational Zeitgeist . It is vital therefore that this study proposes a holistic approach, creating a relational mortuary archaeology in which the spatial location of a grave was as important as the chronological date, the objects and
coherent individual and group identities that provide a way to understand and structure their association with others.
The negotiations embedded in early Anglo-Saxon mortuary behaviour employed a mixture of semiotics expressed through a combination of spoken and visual knowledge. Some of these visual tools survive in the archaeologicalrecord and are described in Chapter 2 , and they included grave clusters, grave orientation, grave density and choice of burial rite, where relational situations were articulated though the juxtaposition of similarity and difference
preparation of a body, digging a grave or contributing to a funeral, which created the archaeologicalrecord. Those events were attended by people whose decisions and actions organised and changed them. They were agents and, importantly, those agents operated within social structures that resulted in power, enslavement or reciprocal attitudes like gender differentiation, social status, kinship or belonging. In short the ability of people to influence the content of a grave, the structure of a cemetery or a social attitude is dependent on them being part of the relationships
these individuals and their immediate social group that returned to a cemetery generation after generation and created high-density burials areas, core groups or rows of graves. Diet, homogeneous or heterogeneous bodies and the lifeways evident in the archaeologicalrecord have provided powerful evidence for attitude in the mortuary context. And it is the attitude behind a burial, not the grave wealth within it, which provides us with a holistic approach to social archaeology. Ultimately, attitude may give us good access to questions about social segregation and
contributed to the production of food and clothing, childcare and the maintenance of land, as well as metalworkers and skilled labourers. Some of these individuals may have had their own families, and even their own households consisting of family, free associates and servants.
Many of these legal descriptions are contemporary with the early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, and so if they described family situations, and household responsibilities, it is not unreasonable to assume that we might see some evidence of these complexities within the archaeologicalrecord.