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Votive deposit

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015230_paraskevotive.JPG
An icon of Aghia Paraskevi with votive offerings hung beside it. Crete (http://www.rhaworth.myby.co.uk/hols/saints.htm), 2001. The saint holds a plate with two eyeballs in it because she is considered to be an healer of the blind. One of her visitors has left an offering showing eyes to indicate what her affliction is.

A votive deposit or votive offering is an object left in a sacred place for ritual purposes.

Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favour with supernatural forces. This is attested by historical Roman and Greek sources although similar acts continue into the present day, for example in the wishing well.

In Europe votive deposits date to the Neolithic with polished axe hoards, reaching a peak in the late Bronze Age. High status artefacts such as swords and spearheads were apparently buried or more commonly cast into bodies of water or peat bogs, from whence they could not possibly have been recovered. Often all the objects in a ritual hoard are broken, 'killing' the objects to put them even further beyond utilitarian use before deposition. The purposeful discarding of valuable items such as swords and spearheads is thought to have therefore have had ritual overtones. The items have since been found in rivers, lakes and former wet-places (now drained by modern agriculture) by metal-detectorists, members of the public and archaeologists.

In archaeology, votive deposits differ from hoards in that although they may contain similar items, votive deposits were not intended for later recovery.

Curse tablet

A curse tablet is a small sheet of tin or lead on which a message wishing misfortune upon someone else was inscribed. The tablet was subsequently rolled up and thrown into a well or spring. Hundreds of such tablets have been recovered from places such as Aquae Sulis, Roman Bath, England.

See also

External links

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