Vampire Burials: An Archaeological Perspective

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Vampire Burials: An Archaeological Perspective

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From medieval times onwards certain communities had an abiding fear of the undead, a belief that corpses could reanimate and become revenants, namely the walking dead. In parts of Eastern Europe, for example, throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there is evidence to show that certain villages and townsfolk were nailing corpses to the ground to prevent them from rising. Whereas in New England, during a particularly devastating tuberculosis epidemic, historical documents reveal how relatives had begun to exhume the bodies of recently deceased family members to check for 'unnatural signs,' such as fresh blood in the heart, or other organs, which they deemed responsible for the continuation of the disease. If blood was found, the offending organ was cut from the body and burned to ashes. This New England remedy was given the eponymous title of 'vampirism.'

So what defines a vampire burial? Where can they be found and how prolific are they? To discover the answers to such telling questions, and more, join Archaeologist and Death Historian Lorraine Evans as she endeavours to uncover the answers.

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