Witch burial in Italy

Archaeologists uncover 'witch' burial in Italy

(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient skeleton of a teenage girl in Albenga, Italy, which had been buried face down, according to a report on Discovery News . The researchers say that burying an individual in this way was indicative of the person having been rejected by society or considered a danger, possibly due to accusations of witchcraft. 

The discovery was made during an archaeological dig carried out by the Vatican’s Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology, at the complex of San Calocero – a burial ground on which a church was built around the 5 th and 6 th centuries AD – located in Albenga along the Ligurian Riviera in northern Italy. 

Burial complex at San Calocero, Italy

Burial complex at San Calocero, Italy. Image source .

The excavation director, Stefano Roascio, said that such burials were carried out as an act of punishment intended to humiliate the dead, and discoveries like this were considered rare. According to the research team, in extreme cases, victims were buried alive in the facedown position, however, this was not the case with the newly discovered burial.

“The prone burial was linked to the belief that the soul left the body through the mouth. Burying the dead facedown was a way to prevent the impure soul threatening the living,” anthropologist Elena Dellù told Discovery News .

A similar practice in the Middle Ages was linked with a belief in vampires, in which the deceased had a stone wedged in their mouth, or was even pinned to the ground with a stake. People believed this would prevent them from leaving at midnight and terrorising the living. The legends formed an important part of folklore throughout Europe. In Bulgaria alone, more than 100 such ‘vampire’ burials have been found .

Skeleton found with a stone wedged in the mouth

Skeleton found with a stone wedged in the mouth. Credit: Chris Read

The skeleton discovered in Albenga belongs to a girl aged approximately 13-years-old, however, radiocarbon dating has not yet been carried out to determine from which era she once lived.  The burial ground was in use between around the 5 th century AD and the 16 th century AD, and researchers believe the skeleton dates from the late antiquity or early Middle Ages. 

It is unusual to find a young girl buried in such a way, as most ‘deviant burials’ are associated with adults. Just what this girl did to elicit fear in the community is a mystery.

Featured image: Skeleton found buried face down in Italy. Credit: Stefano Roascio

By April Holloway

Comments

angieblackmon's picture

I'm really interested in what she might have done. I'm sure it's nothing compared to what some 13 year old girls do now, but I'm very curious!

love, light and blessings

AB

If you want to know more about the young girl and the excavation, you can look to our page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/275289205996290/permalink/313222188869658/

rbflooringinstall's picture

Yay! The Vatican will totally lead an archeaological dig without making themselves, "CHRISTIANITY", and what they purceive as history look like a complete and total fool's errand.

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

Pretty good teeth for no FLUORIDE!

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Places

Himmerod Abbey and Church building
Himmerod Abbey, a Cistercian monastery that's existed for almost 900 years in what is now western Germany is closing down for good, due to running expenses and also a shortage of monks. Notably, the monastery was used during the 1950’s in a distinctly non-monastic capacity, as a secret meeting point of former Wehrmacht high-ranking officers discussing West Germany's rearmament.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article