Archaeologists have discovered the body of a 10-year-old child at an ancient Roman site in Italy which they believe was ritually buried to prevent it rising again from the dead.
The skeletal remains were found by archaeologists from the University of Arizona (UA) and Stanford University, alongside Italians, with a stone placed purposefully in the child’s mouth.
According to researchers, the stone was intentionally inserted as part of a funeral ritual designed to stopper disease and the body from rising after being buried.
The unusual so-called “vampire burial” was described as “extremely eerie and weird” by archaeologist and professor David Soren, who has been excavating the site in Teverina since 1987.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Professor Soren, a Regents’ Professor in the UA school of anthropology and department of religious studies and classics.
“Locally, they’re calling it the ‘Vampire of Lugnano’.”
The find was unearthed at La Necropoli dei Bambini, or the Cemetery of Children, a burial site which dates back to a malaria outbreak in 400 AD which killed many vulnerable babies and small children in the area.