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HomeARCHEOLOGYThe Enigma of the 'Vampire Child': Unveiling an Ancient Burial Ritual

The Enigma of the ‘Vampire Child’: Unveiling an Ancient Burial Ritual

Archaeologists in Rome, Italy, recently made a startling discovery while excavating an ancient cemetery. Deep underground, they unearthed the remains of a ‘vampire child’ buried over 2,000 years ago. The child’s body was found with a stone placed in its mouth, a ritualistic burial practice believed to prevent the dead from rising. In this article, we will delve into the details of this extraordinary find, explore the cultural significance behind this burial ritual, and shed light on the scientific analysis conducted on the remains.

The ‘Vampire of Lugnano’: Unearthing the Unusual Burial

Child 'vampire' burial found in Italian Roman villa | news.com.au —  Australia's leading news site

The excavation team was astounded to find the body of a 10-year-old child lying on its side in a fifth-century Italian cemetery. Previously believed to be designated for infants and unborn fetuses, this burial site held more surprises. The child had a stone deliberately forced into its mouth, indicating intent behind the burial. The cemetery itself has yielded other peculiar findings, such as another child covered in stones.

Understanding the Ritualistic Burial Practice

Experts have revealed that the stone placed in the ‘vampire child’s’ mouth was part of a burial ritual aimed at preventing the dead from returning and infecting the living. Such practices were common in various cultures, including the Roman world. In this case, the child’s burial coincided with a malaria outbreak, as evidenced by tests carried out on the skeleton. The fear of disease transmission from the deceased was a driving factor behind this unique mortuary treatment.

The Significance of Deviant Burials

Eerie Child 'Vampire Burial' Discovered in Italy : ScienceAlert

The ‘vampire child’ burial represents a type of ‘deviant burial’ associated with the interment of individuals considered dangerous in death. These ‘dangerous dead’ were believed to have the potential to rise from their graves and cause harm. Similar burials have been discovered in Europe, including the UK, where corpses were buried with stakes through their hearts. In Bulgaria, archaeologists found remains tied to the ground with iron clamps and accompanied by burning embers.

Scientific Analysis and Interpretation

Archaeologists discover remains of 'vampire' child buried in Italian  cemetery 1,600 years ago | Daily Mail Online

Bioarchaeologists and researchers involved in the study of the ‘vampire child’ have examined the remains to gain further insights. The child’s cause of death was determined to be malaria, a common disease during that era. However, the community’s belief that the child was a vampire reflects the cultural fears and superstitions prevalent at the time. Through scientific analysis, experts are able to shed light on the historical and sociocultural context surrounding these unique burial practices.

The discovery of the ‘vampire child’ burial in an Italian cemetery has provided archaeologists with a fascinating glimpse into ancient burial rituals and cultural beliefs. The deliberate placement of a stone in the child’s mouth serves as evidence of the community’s fear of the dead rising and spreading disease. This find adds to the limited collection of ‘deviant burials’ found worldwide and highlights the intersection of archaeology, anthropology, and cultural superstitions. Through scientific analysis, we continue to unravel the mysteries of the past and gain a deeper understanding of our ancestors’ beliefs and practices.

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