The skeleton of a 10-year-old with a rock lodged in its mouth found in an Italian cemetery of babies has been deemed a “vampire burial,” researchers say.
The child’s skeleton was found by archaeologists from the University of Arizona and Stanford University, working alongside Italian researchers over the summer at La Necropoli dei Bambini, or the Cemetery of the Babies, in the Italian region of Umbria.
The child’s body was positioned on its left side lying in a tomb created by two roof tiles up against a wall, according the University of Arizona. The stone, made of limestone, was roughly the size of a large egg and cut to be pointed on one end, David Pickel with the University of Stanford told USA TODAY.
What’s particularly disturbing about the find is that the child’s jaw was forced open after death and a rock was pushed in, purposefully, researchers said. Cement was plastered on two sides of the cut stone, and tooth-shaped depressions were visible, Pickle said.
University of Arizona professor and archaeologist David Soren, who was involved in the research, said this burial ritual was to ensure that the child didn’t rise from the dead and spread malaria.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s extremely eerie and weird,” said Soren in a statement. “Locally, they’re calling it the ‘Vampire of Lugnano.'”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Ashley May