Archaeologists working in northwestern Poland have unearthed the remains of man who was buried with a rock jammed into his jaw and a stake driven into his leg. They believe that the individual was considered to be a vampire and given a deviant burial by the local population.
The discovery was made in a cemetery outside a church in Kamien Pomorski, a town close to the German border. They believe the skeleton dates back to the 16th century – it was found facing east instead of west (the typical orientation of a burial) and with a wound in the leg. At first the lead archaeologist Slawomir Gorka thought the injury was caused by a gunshot, but later tests revealed it was a puncture wound caused by a wooden stake that was meant to prevent the corpse from getting up.
The archaeologists also found that a rock was placed into the man’s mouth so hard that it knocked out his top-front teeth. It was a common method to have stones placed in the mouth of a person suspected of being a vampire.
The fact that he was buried in a church cemetery initially puzzled the archaeologists, but Gorka told the Polish website kamienskie.info that “We have to realize that the cemetery existed from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century, but not in every buried. It was during a period when it was not in use that he was buried, somewhere along the side of the initial cemetery.”
You can see his complete interview in Polish:
There have been several reports of so-called ‘vampire burials’ from medieval and early modern Europe. Archaeologists have come across another similar deviant burial last year in Poland, as well as in Bulgaria and near the Italian city of Venice. See also: Medieval Irish had their own ways to stop the undead