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A Civil War-era 'witch bottle' may have been found on a Virginia highway

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Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-26 12:56:47-05

WILLIAMSBURG, VA — An artifact found at a Civil War site in Virginia could be what is known as a 'witch bottle' used to ward off evil spirits.

An archaeological site in Williamsburg found an interesting artifact back in 2016.

They are now learning that it could hold more history than they initially thought.

"Our first thought was why do they have this bottle with nails in it? Why would they even have that?" said Joe Jones, Director for William & Mary Center for Archeological Research.

"Putting them next to the fireplace to ward off evil spirits basically, as a form of protection it's kind of a talisman."

The team members from the William and Mary Center of Archaeological Research found the bottle along I-64 near Busch Gardens.

“We found the bottle, we knew it was coming from undisturbed deposits, we knew it's kind of a time capsule --because it hasn't been disturbed since it was deposited," said Jones.

They said the clay on the bottle dates back to the Civil War era after confederate troops retreated to Richmond from Williamsburg,

"Putting the nails and the personal effects in a bottle next to a fireplace, the heat of the fire heats up the iron in the nails and, in some way, that entraps the evil spirits,” said Jones.

Jones says the bottle was broken off when they found it.