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Fifth-century child’s skeleton shows evidence of “vampire burial”

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Timothy Guardado
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Archaeologists have discovered the skeleton of a 10-year-old child at an ancient Roman site in Italy with a rock carefully placed in its mouth.

This suggests those who buried the child—who probably died of malaria during a deadly fifth century outbreak—feared it might rise from the dead and spread the disease to those who survived.

"This is a very unusual mortuary treatment that you see in various forms in different cultures, especially in the Roman world," says Jordan Wilson, a graduate student in bio-archaeology at the University of Arizona who studied the remains.

Pretty much every culture on Earth has some version of a vampire (or proto-vampire) myth.

Chinese folklore has the Jiang shi, [corrected] which are reanimated corpses that rise from the grave to prey on the living; one type has sharp fangs, the better to bite into the neck of said prey.

Russian, Albanian, Indian, and Greek folklore have similar undead monsters.

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Timothy Guardado
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