As we get closer and closer to Halloween, skeletons and tombstones are popping up as decorations in neighborhoods around America. Meanwhile, in Italy, scientists have been hard at work excavating a fifth century CE child’s cemetery. This fact alone would creep out most individuals. However, what was recently found in one of these shallow gravesites raises the freaky factor from a five to a solid ten!
La Necropoli Dei Bambini
The name of this deserted cemetery is La Necropoli Dei Bambini, or Cemetery of Babies. Located in Lugnano, Italy, it stayed ultimately undisturbed until 1988 when excavations began. Since that time, researchers have discovered some relatively strange burial processes. The ten-year-old corpse excavated recently has topped any and all previously found bodies.
The skull and mandible were in good enough shape for the scientists to take a closer look at the mouth of the young child. Hidden behind his or her teeth was a large rock that seemed to have been deliberately put into the mouth of the deceased.
Dracula’s Burial Ritual
This type of burial, although disturbing, was actually fairly common for the time period. It was referred to as a “vampire burial”, as the rock would help to hold the body down so the corpse could not rise.
The remains have proven to be the oldest ones yet discovered at the burial site. In addition to the rock inside of the mouth, the body also had traces of malaria-causing parasites. In fact, almost all of the corpses pulled from this area contained these parasites.
Finding evidence of disease paints a vivid and terrifying picture of just how many children did not survive during this time in Italy. Some of the burial sites even contained body parts from puppies! Researchers believe that these puppies were also part of burial rituals that included sacrifices to the gods.
All excavating has come to a halt for this year, but scientists plan to return to the digging and sorting in 2019. For now, the list of strange rituals during child burials will stay the length that it is- at least until another shocking discovery is revealed.