Once laid to rest, the remains of many who died in medieval Europe were not left in peace. As many as 40 percent of graves from the mid-fifth to mid-eighth centuries appear to have been disturbed after burial.
Grave robbers, searching for wealth buried along with the dead, have frequently born the blame from archaeologists.
"This sort of behavior has always been described as grave robbery," said Edeltraud Aspock, a postdoctoral researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. "It has always been thought that it was criminal gangs and foreigners that have been plundering, and it was all about material gain."
But after carefully examining disturbed graves, Aspock believes something much more complex was happening.
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Click here to access the article PAST ‘DISTURBANCES’ OF GRAVES AS A SOURCE: TAPHONOMY AND INTERPRETATION OF REOPENED EARLY MEDIEVAL INHUMATION GRAVES AT BRUNN AM GEBIRGE (AUSTRIA) AND WINNALL II (ENGLAND)
See also What actually is a deviant burial? Comparing German-language and Anglophone research on deviant burials, by Edeltraud Aspock