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ARCHEOLOGY – Doomed never to come back from the dead. The skeleton of a woman considered a “vampire” was discovered in a 17th century Polish cemetery on Friday, September 2. Wearing a silk cap, the body also wore a very surprising object around its neck: a sickle.
The team of archaeologists from Nicholas Copernic University quickly understood the meaning of this funny necklace. “The sickle was not laid flat but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased vampire had tried to stand up…the head would have been severed or injured” explained Professor Dariusz Poliński, who is leading the excavations, to the British newspaper The Daily Mail.
In the 11th century, the populations of Eastern Europe, in particular the Slavic peoples, developed myths and legends around vampires and began to set up rituals. They thought that some dead people managed to get out of their graves and became monsters “bloodsuckers”.
This belief has even led to mass executions of people believed to be vampires. While the “premature death” for example by committing suicide, were often suspected of vampirism and their bodies were mutilated to prevent them from resurrecting.
Since the 1990s, archaeologists have been ecstatic over the discovery of ever more sophisticated techniques to ward off the resurrection of vampires. In addition to the sickle around the neck, other techniques may have been used, such as “place the deceased face down so that he bites into the ground, burn him and hit him with a stone” explained Dariusz Poliński to the New York Post.
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