I’m in the process of developing a new research project (working title, Malefic Midlands: Archaeology of Folk Magic in the Early Modern Midlands – or more easily, ‘Malefic Midlands’!).[i] This project at present concentrates on my home county of Derbyshire in the 17th and 18th centuries, but also examines material from locations within the Midlands region of England, including (so far) Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, and Staffordshire.
In brief, I’ve established this project so that I might collate and more systematically examine data that I have gathered, and will continue to collect, and share discoveries. This work is an extension of my previous research on ritual practices in the late pre-Roman Iron Age, Romano-British period, and Early Middle Ages in Britain. And it relates to my current research on various aspects of the post-medieval life and death (for the purposes of my studies, during 17th – 19th centuries),
I’ve provided a short background of my interests and academic research in the field of ritual, religion, and folklore, on the project website (which is still under construction – so please bear with me while I develop the site). Another post on the MM website outlines recent and current research to be included, and conducted, through the project – which primarily examines graffiti on the walls and timbers of houses and churches, and collections of particular artefacts concealed within houses. And a further post over at MM considers (very briefly) interpretations of this material – particularly the notion that these practices were performed as acts of ritual protection.
I’ll post information and records of finds when possible, here; perhaps on my freelance website, and on the project website. But, although my interests in the topic are long-standing, I am only at the beginning of this research, and have much reading up on the subject yet to do, so it will probably remain pretty basic for a while.
[i] As a Historical and Contemporary Archaeologist, I adopt the broad definition of Archaeology as the study of the human past through material remains. For a discussion on the breadth of material that might be studied archaeologically, see this previous post.