Cave Containing Witches Marks Discovered in England

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Creswell Crags in England has a very, very long history, going back more than 10,000 years before the Egyptians built the pyramids. In fact, there is evidence of human occupation of the caverns as early as 60,000 years ago. Throughout the ice age, the caves were used by hunters seeking refuge. The Creswell Crags Museum has many of the findings on display from stone tools to an ancient Hippo jaw bone. They also have a rich collection of cave art, some of it more bizarre than the run of the mill bison and mammoths. Now, archaeologists have found “Witches Marks”.

What are Witches Marks?

Witch’s marks, also known as Apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning ‘to turn away’ are not that common in the ancient world but they are somewhat common in Creswell Crags. They are intended to turn away evil spirits and have been used in Creswell Crags. In total, there are hundreds of examples found in Creswell caverns making it the most prolific Apotropaic site in the UK and possibly in the world.

Example of Witches Marks from Creswell Crags. Image courtesy of Creswell Crags Museum.

Witches marks have also been found in Shakespear’s Birthplace and in medieval barns such as the Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn. It is thought most of the witches marks in Creswell Caverns date to the medieval period because they contain numerous double V’s, which seem to represent the Virgin Mary (Virgin of virgins).

Another example of a mysterious symbol found in Creswell’s Caves. Image courtesy of Creswell Crags Museum.
The double V can be seen on the upper left of this image. It represents the Virgin Mary. Image courtesy of Creswell Crags Museum.

Take a look at the video from Creswell Caverns about the discovery:

For more strangeness, check out our article about the last surviving mammoths on a remote island off of Alaska.
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