Archeologists unearth evidence of zombie scare in medieval Ireland

8th century skeleton with stone shoved into its mouth Chris Read

Halloween is still more than one month away but archeologists working in Ireland have uncovered a couple of 8th century human skeletons that point to a ghoulish story.

The skeletons, dug up between 2005 and 2009 at Kilteasheen, near Loch Key in Ireland, were found with stones stuck into their mouths. Researchers examining the remains suggest this may have been related to a belief among the locals that this practice would prevent the dead from returning to walk the Earth as zombies.

What began as a survey of medieval churches in Co. Roscommon, Ireland, has since turned into one of Ireland's largest research excavations. Indeed, the project has so far turned up more than 120 skeletons in a cemetery which dates between the 7th and 14th centuries. The site has revealed traces from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Early and later Medieval eras.

Chris Read from the Institute of Technology in Sligo, Ireland, said that one of the skeletons - both were men of indeterminate age - had a large black stone deliberately shoved into his mouth. "The other had his head turned to the side and had an even larger stone wedged quite violently into his mouth so that his jaws were almost dislocated," Read told Discovery News. He added that the stones might have acted as a barrier to prevent revenants or the "walking dead from returning from their graves.

Click here to read the story on Discovery News. You can also get a sense of the terrain and the excavations from this 2009 video posted on YouTube

Comments