The bottle, jade blue and less than half a foot in height, was plucked in 2016 from the soil dividing traffic on Interstate 64 between exits 238 and 242 in York County. William & Mary archaeologists were inspecting the area for any remaining artifacts in advance of a highway-widening project by the Virginia Department of Transportation...
Witch bottles can be traced to the East Anglia region of England in the late Middle Ages, according to a summary of research on the subject by JSTOR Daily. The bottles typically included human urine, hair or fingernail clippings and sharp objects such as nails, pins or thorns.
The objects were intended to lure witches or malevolent spirits with the urine, hair or fingernail clippings, then trap them with nails or pins — a low-tech witch hunt. Nearly 200 have been found in Britain, where researchers have launched a multiyear survey and study of witch bottles, complete with a social media-aided #WitchBottleHunt campaign to educate the public on identifying the artifacts. Last year, contractors razing an old pub found a suspected witch bottle containing fish hooks, teeth and a mysterious liquid.
More at the Washington Post.