In 2016, archaeologists excavating sections of a southern Virginia interstate unearthed dinnerware and a brick hearth at a Civil War encampment called Redoubt 9. Near the hearth, they found a blue glass bottle made in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860. Eerily, the vessel was filled with nails.
At first, the team didn’t know what to make of the bottle, theorizing it was perhaps just a place to collect spare nails. Now, however, experts suspect the container may be a “witch bottle”—one of less than a dozen such protective talismans found in the United States to date, according to a statement from the College of William & Mary.