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Another “vampire” skeleton has been found in Bulgaria

A grave in Bulgaria has been unearthed, revealing a skeleton with an iron spike driven through its chest in an apparent “anti-vampire” ritual, according to The Telegraph. The grave is believed to date back to the early 13th century, and is one of many such finds in the region.

The skeleton was discovered by archaeologist Professor Nikolai Ovcharov, while excavating the ruins of the ancient Thracian city Perperikon, located in southern Bulgaria. The city was founded in circa 5,000 BC, northeast of modern day Kardzhali. Excavation began in the year 2000, and has since revealed a Temple of Dionysus, an ancient citadel, and a bunch of skeletons with spikes through their hearts.

Ovcharov explained that the practice was fairly common during the middle ages. Those deemed to be “bad” people would have a stake driven through their heart after death, which was supposed to prevent them from rising from the grave and presumably nomming on unsuspecting villagers. The definition of what a “bad” person was could encompass a lot of things, but the staking ritual was also used when people died under unusual circumstances, including suicide.

As for the skeleton, it is thought to belong to a man aged between 40 and 50. A heavy iron rod used in a plough was hammered through his chest, and his left leg had been removed and placed next to the skeleton (although that might not have had anything to do with the ritual).

Although the common perception of a vampire comes to us from the 18th or 19th century, stories of demons rising from the grave – the precursors of the modern vampires – date back to the first civilizations in Mesopotamia. The Bulgarian find is one of roughly 100 similar graves, and other anti-vampiric ritual burials have been found throughout the Balkans.

 

Image courtesy: The Telegraph

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