Category: Material Culture

Curiouser and Curiouser: How the 100 Year Old Cottingley Fairies Hoax Just Got Better

Hidden in plain sight for a century, two recently reappraised Cottingley Fairy photographs bring a whole new dimension to the celebrated hoax.

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Grotesques, Green Men and Glorious Angels

The Church of St Mary and St David in Kilpeck in Herefordshire has been a centre for Christian worship since the 12th century, and today is a place of pilgrimage. 

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Luke Stephenson & Helen Champion: The Clown Egg Register

For over 70 years, the oldest established clowning organization has been painting the faces of clowns on eggs. Each is a record of a clown's unique identity

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The Clarke Charm Collection: Of Witch Bottles, Witch Cakes and Hag Stones

Clarke’s charm collection reveals a range of uses, including cures for sore throats, the protection of seafarers from drowning, and good luck charms.

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Gargoyles: Demons in the Sky or Grotesque Guardian Angels?

An exploration of the history, myths and enduring legacy of gargoyles in popular culture.

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Folklore of Archaeology: Of Giants, Fairies, Megaliths and Menhirs

While much fairy folklore associated with prehistoric sites centres around barrows and brochs, many megaliths are linked to fairies, goblins and their counterparts, in both legend and etymology.

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Getting Even in Roman Britain: The Curse Tablets from Bath (Aquae Sulis)

For many residents of ancient Britain, curses involved invoking a god to influence a particular individual according to their wishes

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From the Gorgon to the Gift Shop: A Brief Archaeology of the Evil Eye

The matiasma is an apotropaic amulet designed to ward off the evil eye in Greek folklore.

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Supernatural Safeguarding: Hidden Objects in the Post-Medieval Home

What do a child’s shoe, a cod-liver oil bottle, and a desiccated cat have in common? They’re all objects that have been discovered in unusual locations within buildings. In fact, a vast…

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The Calderstones: Invoking the Spirits of Place

South Liverpool, where I was born and live still, is a place full of green-spaces. Its abundance of woodlands, parks, cemeteries, playing fields and golf courses are linked by an intricate network…

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Built with the Bones of the Dead: The Hidden Church of San Bernardino, Milan, Italy

The most interesting parts of Milan are hidden in plain sight. This city, once an ancient Celtic settlement conquered by Romans and now considered the fashion capital of Europe, isn’t the first thing that…

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