A fascinating find made on an old pilgrimage path that went through the Eliat Mountains in southern Israel. It sheds light on magic practises that were done around 400 years ago, during the Early Ottoman period. The artefacts, which include clay dolls, rattles, and more, are thought to have been used by professional witches. This discovery is the biggest of its kind, and it shows how people used magic to keep curses away and fix themselves.
Magic rituals from the past that can seen on the Darb al-Hajj road
The artefacts found on the Darb al-Hajj travel road, which ran through Eilat in southern Israel and connected Cairo to Mecca. From the 7th century to the 19th century, this path used by Muslim pilgrims on their way. The newly found items from the Early Ottoman period make the historical importance of the pilgrimage road even more interesting.
What the magic items used for
The broken clay rattles, which about the size of tennis balls, and the quartz pebbles important parts of magic practises that meant to heal and protect against evil curses like the evil eye. The collection also has votive incense altars and small clay figures of a woman or goddess with her hands raised and an animal. There was a mix of formal religious practises and popular magical rituals going on at that time, as shown by these finds.
Information about the discovery and new studies
The artefacts found in the late 1990s by a local man named Moti Shemtov. They have recently been carefully studied by experts. The study done by Nitzan Amitai-Preiss from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Itamar Taxel from the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Uzi Avner from the Dead Sea-Arava Science Centre. It released in the Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World.
How Important the Findings Are
The researchers talked about how important the finding. They also talked about how practises have stayed the same from the Early Ottoman period to the present day. In that time, as now, people looked to famous sorcerers for help in addition to their formal religious beliefs. People who are good at popular magic ceremonies broke or damaged the artefacts on purpose to show what rituals done at the spot.
New Ways of Looking at Cultural Practises
Literature helped the researchers understand how people from different social classes wanted to use magic in the early Ottoman time. In the Muslim world, these kinds of rituals happen every day, along with more official religious practises. This makes it likely that pilgrims on their way to Mecca and Medina took part in these mysterious ceremonies.
This finding not only helps us learn more about how people lived in the past. It also shows how spirituality and magic have always linked in different times.