So-called “vampire” graves were uncovered by archaeologists in Poland during a recent construction. The find was quite accidental and happened during construction of a roadway near Gliwice.
The finding is unusual for several reasons. For one, the most common graves uncovered are that of World War II soldiers. The skeletons discovered in the graves had been decapitated, with their heads being placed on their legs, notes The Telegraph.
The burial indicated to archaeologists an ancient process meant to keep vampires from walking. Ancient superstition suggested that keeping the head separated from the body would make it impossible for vampires and other undead creatures to rise from the grave.
While decapitation was one way of achieving the burial goal, another way was to hang the body by a noose until the decaying process separated the head from the rest of the body.
Of course, in ancient times there were other bizarre ways to bury a vampire. LiveScience reports that forensic anthropologist Matteo Borrini cited the case of a woman who died in Venice during a plague in the 16th century. She was buried with a brick in her open mouth — a popular method of keeping suspected vampires from feeding on the living.
Other vampire graves uncovered have revealed skeletons staked to the ground with either a wood or metal stake, pinning the corpse into place. Two skeletons were found like this in Bulgaria in 2012.
As they are not common, vampire grave discoveries are an insight into the way people lived and died in ancient times. The majority of vampire stores follow a pattern of strange death. Because science could not explain the deaths, they were attributed to “vampires.”
As for determining when and why the latest vampire graves were created, archaeologists are having a difficult time. The skeletons were not discovered with any jewelry, belt buckles buttons, or other artifacts that could point to a specific point in history.
[Image via ShutterStock]