Seventeenth century ‘vampire child’ unearthed in Polish ‘necropolis’

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Archaeologists unearthed a set of unusual remains belonging to a 17th-century child at an excavation site in Poland.

The boy was found with a padlock attached to his foot, a clear sign, researchers say, that he was feared to be a vampire.

In Medieval Europe, fears that the dead could return as “vampires” were widespread, and so measures were put in place to ensure the deceased stayed just that.

Researchers, including Dariusz Poliński from the Nicolaus Copernicus University, explored what they described as an early Medieval “necropolis”, excavating graves at a site near Dąbrowa Chełmińska in Poland in search of unique burials.

They made a similar breakthrough discovery last year after they found a Medieval woman whose ankle was similarly padlocked.

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Her grave was reinforced, protected “from rising from the grave” with a triangular padlock on the big toe at her left foot, accompanied by a sickle with a blade placed around her neck.

Researchers, hungry for similar finds at the same site, finally hit upon the “vampire child” who is believed to have been around 5 or 7 years old on his death.

The boy was found buried face down, his head forced into a burial cavity, suggesting the deceased and his “activity” was “feared” after death.

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Burials with the deceased facing downwards were likely carried out in Medieval times to make the deceased “bite into the ground” and ensure they did not “pose a threat to people,” the scientists explained in a statement.

A triangular padlock was also discovered beneath the bones of the child, similar to the one found alongside the medieval woman.

Analysis suggests the child’s grave was violated and a part of the corpse was previously taken away.

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It is not known what happened to the remains or why they were removed.

Near the child’s grave, researchers also discovered a “puzzling cluster” of skeletons also belonging to children, a fragment of one of the jaws coloured green — a similar greenish tint found on the palate of the woman unearthed last year.

The team say there may have been an object made of copper placed in the person’s mouth, hence the discolouration.

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