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Vampire Graveyard Unearthed in Poland

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By Anshu Shrivastava | July 18, 2013 2:21 PM EST

Archaeologists have unearthed a vampire burial ground at a construction site in Gliwice, Poland. They also found skeletal remains of four men who were buried in accordance with the ancient ritualistic practice for suspected vampires. Their decapitated skulls were rested on their legs.  

The skull is decapitated and placed in such a manner to ensure that the dead does not rise and return to the land of the living, according to Polskie Radio. It was believed that vampires had the ability to transcend death and they returned from the dead to harm the living. There were no personal items such as jewellery, belt buckles or buttons on the skeletons, which also suggest that the men were buried according to the vampire burial practice.  

These dead men are highly unlikely to be sexy vampires, the kind that exist in the Twilight series or Vampire diaries. They are either victims of a barbaric Slavic practice or died on the gallows.  The Independent reports that folklores of Slavic communities suggest that suspected vampires were decapitated or hung from gallows until their heads were decomposed naturally.

The Telegraph reports that decapitation of suspected vampires was a common practice in Slavic areas in the period following Christianity.  Dr Jacek Pierzak, the lead archaeologist, told the Dziennik Zachodni newspaper, that it's "very difficult to tell when these burials were carried out." He said early indications suggest that the vampire grave could be dated to the 16th century.  

The Eastern European folklores are full of vampire tales and in 17th and 18th centuries, there was a spate of alleged vampire sightings across the region. The discovery of vampire graves is not uncommon across Eastern Europe, The Guardian reports.

In recent times, more than 100 vampire graves have been unearthed in Bulgaria. Last year, archaeologists found 700-year-old skeletal remains of two men while excavating a monastery near the city of Sozopol, Bulgaria. They had been stabbed through the heart with iron rods, an indication that they were suspected to be vampires, according to Time's report.

"These people were believed to be evil while they were alive, and it was believed that they would become vampires once they are dead, continuing to torment people," Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the Bulgarian National History Museum, told the Sofia News Agency at the time.

Also in year 2008, archaeologists unearthed a 4000-year-old grave in Mikulovice, Czech Republic. Local media reported at the time that the skeletal remains of the man found at the site suggested that at the time of burying, two big stones were placed on him, one on his chest and other on his head, indicating that the man might have been considered a vampire at the time.  

"Remains treated in this way are now considered as vampiric. The dead man's contemporaries were afraid that he might leave his grave and return to the world," Radko Sedlacek from the East Bohemia Museum told Czech News Agency.

The National Geographic reports that archaeologist now believe that a belief in vampire arose from a common misunderstanding about diseases such tuberculosis and also people were unaware about the process of decomposition. 

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