A discovery of a skeleton, dating from 550-700AD, with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles has revealed details of one of the few ‘vampire’ burials in Britain.
The skeleton was found buried in the ancient minister town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, the Daily Mail reported.
It is believed to be a ‘deviant burial’, where people considered the ‘dangerous dead’, such as vampires, were interred to prevent them rising from their graves to plague the living.
Only a handful of such burials have been unearthed in the UK.
Matthew Beresford, of Southwell Archaeology, details the discovery in a new report.
The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street in the town 1959, which revealed Roman remains.
Beresford said when Daniels found the skeleton he jokingly checked for fangs.
“The classic portrayal of the dangerous dead (more commonly known as a vampire) is an undead corpse arising from the grave and all the accounts from this period reflect this,” the paper quoted Beresford as saying in his report.
“Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period the punishment of being buried in water-logged ground, face down, decapitated, staked or otherwise was reserved for thieves, murderers or traitors or later for those deviants who did not conform to societies rules: adulterers, disrupters of the peace, the unpious or oath breaker.
“Which of these the Southwell deviant was we will never know,” he stated.
Beresford believes the remains may still be buried on the site where they originally lay because Daniels was unable to remove the body from the ground.
John Lock, chairman of Southwell Archaeology, said the body was one out of a handful of such burials to be found in the UK.
“A lot of people are interested in it, but quite where it takes us I don’t know because this was found in the 1950s and now we don’t know where the remains are,” he said.
Lock said no one could be sure why the body was staked in the way it was.
He said: “People would have a very strong view that this was somebody who, for whatever reason, they had a reason to fear and needed to ensure that this person did not come back.”