London: A 1400-year-old 'vampire' skeleton with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, has been discovered in Britain, a new report has claimed. The skeleton dating from 550-700 AD found buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire has shed light on rare 'vampire' burials in Britain.
Long dismissed as myth and legend, the vampire is associated with spooky stories, 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 till now. The discovery is detailed in a new report by Matthew Beresford, of Southwell Archaeology. The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street, which revealed Roman remains. Beresford said when Daniels found the skeleton he jokingly checked for fangs.
The 1400-year-old 'vampire' skeleton has been found with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles.
"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," said Beresford.
"Which of these the Southwell deviant was we will never know," he said. 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 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," Lock said. The discovery comes five months after archaeologists found remains from a third grave in central Bulgaria linked to the practice, the report said. The skeleton was tied to the ground with four iron clamps, while burning ambers were placed on top of his grave.