By examining an ancient ceramic pot filled with the bones of a dismembered chicken, scientists have figured out that it was for black magic, Live science reports.
The publication notes that a vessel more than two thousand years old was found back in 2006 on the Athens Agora square in Greece. But only now the experts have figured that the artifact was probably intended for a black magic rite, with the help of which a terrible curse could be imposed on enemies. It was likely part of an ancient curse to paralyze and kill 55 people.
“The pot contained the dismembered head and legs of a young chicken, no more than seven months old,” explained Jessica Lamont, a historian and professor at Yale University who studied the vessel.
By twisting and piercing the head and legs of the chicken, the sorcerers tried to damage the same body parts of their victims, she adds.
“All exterior surfaces of the [jar] were originally covered with text; it once carried over 55 inscribed names, dozens of which now survive only as scattered, floating letters or faint stylus strokes” writes Lamont. She noted that the Greek writing contains words that may mean “we bind”.
The nail and chicken parts likely played a role in the curse. Nails are commonly found with ancient curses and “had an inhibiting force and symbolically immobilized or restrained the faculties of [the curse’s] victims,” Lamont wrote.