Mysterious "feather pits" shed light on forgotten witches of England

Evidence of pagan rituals involving swans and other birds in the Cornish countryside in the 17th century has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Since 2003, 35 pits have been excavated containing swan pelts, dead magpies, unhatched eggs, quartz pebbles, human hair, fingernails and part of an iron cauldron.

The finds have been dated to the 1640s, a period of turmoil in England when Cromwellian Puritans destroyed any links to pre-Christian pagan England. It was also a period when witchcraft attracted the death sentence.