Friday, 13 May 2016

The Magical Dead

National Museum - Scotland, Edinburgh

"Human remains were sometimes used for ritual, magical purposes. 

Around 2000 years ago, in the Western Isles, the partly decayed body of a youth age about 12 was cut into quarters and deposited in four pits along with the butchered remains of two young cattle and two sheep. The pits were found beneath a house.

It may be that he had drowned, and when his decaying remains were found, rituals were performed to lay him -- and perhaps his ghost -- to rest. Or he may have been the victim of a sacrifice. Placing the dismembered animal carcasses in the pits was part of these rituals.

The house may have been built above the pits because this place was now seen as a place of good luck."