Magic and witchcraft were part of the life of all communities throughout the entire human history. Besides modern theoretical approaches, which first appeared in the Victorian times and continued until today, magical practices are still considered useful means through which people could communicate with the supernatural beings, and sorcerers and witches are the intermediaries of this dialogue through their knowledge and abilities.
Ethnographic studies have provided numerous examples of magical rituals, illustrating the huge variety and complexity of the gestures and actions required by the aforementioned dialogue with the supernatural world. Likewise, ancient literary sources can help unveiling similar information regarding some of the past societies. However, this is not the case for many areas from temperate Europe and elsewhere during most of the ancient times. As a consequence, the archaeologists are called to provide at least partial reconstructions of the magical practices and their practitioners from the regions in question using the evidence they have uncovered.
It has to be noted that the archaeology of magic and witchcraft is not a new subject. There are several important contributions published around the world, which have proposed several methods of analysing and interpreting relevant archaeological evidence; many are mentioned in the introductive chapter. At the same time, a series of recent theoretical approaches taken over from cultural anthropology, for example those related to the “cultural” or “social life of things”, could offer useful instruments for interpreting archaeological data from the perspective of magic and witchcraft in past societies. (From „FOREWORD”)