Among the interesting artifacts found at the Cupids Cove Archaeological Dig were fragments of Bellarmine or Bartmann bottles. In the 17th century Bartmann jugs were employed as witch bottles, a popular type of magic item which was filled with various objects such as human urine, hair and magical charms, which were supposed to benefit their owners or harm their enemies.
The “face fragment” comes from a German manufactured Bellarmine bottle which dates to the early 17th century and was found just a few feet northeast of the dwelling house at Cupids.
Other fragments of Bellarmine or Bartmann bottles were found broken on the wooden floor inside the dwelling house. According to William Gilbert, the chief archaeologist, the dwelling house, store house and some of the other buildings were destroyed by fire in the mid 1660s. We do not know the cause of this fire. We will also never know if the Bellarmine or Bartmann bottles were used as “witch bottles.” However, there is a possibility because of the time period.
The popular alternative name “Bellarmine” is recorded earliest in 1634, and is in popular tradition associated with the cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), a fierce opponent of Protestantism in the Low Countries and northern Germany. The reason for the association with Bellarmino is not entirely clear but was possibly conceived by Dutch and English Protestants to ridicule the cardinal. Another possibility is his anti-alcohol stance.