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Flint nodule in the shape of a foot and shin, North-East England, 1908-1916

The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, the limb-shaped flint nodule on the right was carried around or kept in the bedroom as a cure for gout. It was believed that the pain was transferred from person to stone. The piece of flint was a gift in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is shown here with two other examples (A38134 and A665276).

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Glossary: flint nodule

No description.

Glossary: gout

A disease with painful inflammation of the joints caused by deposits of uric acid salts. It results in acute arthritis and chronic destruction of the joints.

Glossary: anthropomorphic

From anthropomorphism, which projects human characteristics such as speech, emotion and reason on to animals or objects.