Archaeologists find evidence of superstitious rituals at Turkish site

The containers supposedly held items to ward off evil spirits and were buried under the floor.

Charms to Ward off Demons Found Under Ancient Floors | LiveScience.

In the summer of 2013 archaeologists were excavating an ancient building at Sardis that was constructed after the earthquake. Underneath the floor, they found two curious containers that each held small bronze tools, an eggshell and a coin, resting just atop the remains of an earlier elite building that was destroyed during the disaster.

The objects in the odd assemblages were important in ancient rituals to keep evil forces at bay, and the archaeologists who found them believe they could be rare examples of how the earthquake affected ancient people on a personal level.

Eggs are commonly connected to superstition, notes the researcher, Elizabeth Raubolt of the University of Missouri, who presented her findings this month at the Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting in Chicago. She thinks the charms were ways people thought to ward off evil including additional earthquakes or spells. Buring things in the floors or walls are also common superstitious practices around the world. See this story about mummified cats:

Awful cat-ur-walling was used as protection against spirits.

Credit: ©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis / Harvard University

Credit: ©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis / Harvard University

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  1 comment for “Archaeologists find evidence of superstitious rituals at Turkish site

  1. spookyparadigm
    January 12, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    The placement on an earthquake damaged building is interesting. However, dedicatory an termination rituals are not all that unusual in numerous cultures. I’m familiar with Maya termination rituals (either built by those creating the building to manage the supernatural power of the place, or by conquerors seeking to desecrate it)

    http://www.livescience.com/6347-ancient-mayan-rituals-revealed-ordinary-objects.html

    http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/early-maya-building-rituals/?_r=0

    https://www.academia.edu/1570257/Rituals_of_Death_and_Disempowerment_Among_the_Maya

    and I’ve dug up what may have been the residue of a monumental dedicatory ritual.

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