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