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White wart-like stone, South Devon, England, 1801-1900

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Credit: White wart-like stone, South Devon, England, 1801-1900. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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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, this stone was rubbed over warts in the belief that the skin would be cured. (The pitted white stone looks like wart-covered skin.) There are probably more folk cures for warts than any other ailment. We now know that warts are caused by a skin infection and can be treated with ‘over the counter’ remedies or left to disappear naturally. The stone was bought in 1930 from Edward Lovett’s (1852-1933) collection of British amulets and charms and is pictured with another folk cure for warts (A79894). maker: Unknown maker Place made: Devon, England, United Kingdom


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