Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Vampires' in Poland, 'Medieval Mystery' site in England - what archaeologists are finding

Two recent archaeological stories are getting some media attention. First, in southern Poland a graveyard was discovered that contained four skeletons that had their heads buried between their legs. Radio Poland explains that "according to folk beliefs, this prevented a possible vampire from finding his or her way back to the land of the living. There was no trace at the burial ground of any earthly possessions, such as jewellery, belts or buckles."

The graves were discovered during the construction of a roadway near the Polish town of Gliwice. Tests will be carried out to determine when the skeletons were buried, but the archaeologists believe they date back to the early modern period. You can read the full article from Radio Poland.

Other discoveries of 'vampires' buried in graveyards include a woman found in Venice whose skull had been impaled through the mouth with a brick, over 100 skeletons found in Bulgaria that have had an iron rod piercing their chest, and in Ireland they have wedged large stones into the of mouths of skeletons to prevent them from rising from the dead.

Meanwhile, archaeologists working in Somerset, England, were surprised to discover a large site of medieval buildings. No records of this site exist, but the archaeologists believe it might have been connected with nearby Glastonbury Abbey. Roof slates, glazed ceramic roof tiles and decorated floor tiles suggest that these were substantial buildings of high status.

Bob Davis, Senior Buildings Archaeologist for Wessex Archaeology explains, “This is a significant find and therefore very exciting, particularly as there are no documentary records that such a site ever existed here. Preliminary dating of pottery sherds found at Longforth Farm suggest that the buildings were occupied between the 12th and 14th centuries. At some stage however, the buildings were abandoned, the useable building materials were robbed out and recycled and the site was forgotten.”

You can read more from Wessex Archaeology.