Past research has highlighted how the definition of ancient magic is situationally specific, both in terms of its social and cultural context and between different time periods. However, there have been few attempts to understand how the meaning of magic in the past transformed over time. This article argues that the concept of “place,” defined as a focus for past social action, can form a useful linchpin onto which our interpretation of magic can be situated and explored. In Britain, the Late Iron Age to Early Roman transition was a period of dramatic sociopolitical change. Using archaeological evidence from the burial site at Stanway, Colchester (200 BC–AD 75), the article demonstrates how the exploration of this place can reveal the evolution of magical practices over time. This approach uncovers the time depth of magic across this transition period and explores how “magical places” came into being.

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