Witch’s Graveyard Found in Italy
800-year-old skeletal remains of a woman with nails driven into her jaw were recently unearthed by archaeologists. They believe that the site she was found could be a medieval "witch’s graveyard".
The Daily Mail reports, the bones were surrounded by 13 nails and found at Piombino, near Lucca in Tuscany. The woman had not been buried in a coffin and the bones were not wrapped in any burial shroud.
It’s thought that the nails driven through her jaw were placed in order to prevent her from rising from the dead.
A female skull with a stone driven through its mouth was found in Venice two years ago. Experts say it was a traditional way of preventing vampires rising from the dead.
Another female body was found at the site, this one was surrounded by 17 dice. In Italy, 17 is an unlucky number because of its association with death.
The Latin word “vixi” can be derived from the number 17 by writting it in Roman numerals and rearranging the letters. The word means “I have lived” and can be considered a euphemism for “I am dead”.
A game woman were banned from playing 800 years ago involved using dice, possibly hinting a connection.
An archaeologist from L’Aquila University, Alfonso Forgione, is convinced that the reason the women were killed was due to practising witchcraft. He is leading the dig.
“She was buried in bare earth, not in a coffin and she had no shroud around her either, intriguingly other nails were hammered around her to pin down her clothes,” Forgione said.
“This indicates to me that it was an attempt to make sure the woman even though she was dead did not rise from the dead and unnerve the locals who were no doubt convinced she was a witch with evil powers.”
The burial site is also the site of an ancient church, leaving archaeologist unable to explain why the women, if they were witches, were interred in hallow ground.
“The only possible explanation is that perhaps both women came from influential families and were not peasant class and so because of their class and connections were able to secure burial in consecrated Christian ground,” Forgione said.