If it’s true that those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it then archaeologists are saving us all from a fate worse than death – the UNdead!
This week, archaeologists in Bulgaria announced the discovery of two 800-year-old “vampire” skeletons in the Black Sea town of Sozopol. They were staked in the chest before burial outside a local monastery, ensuring the town folk that these high-risk corpses would never rise from their graves to feast on the blood of the living.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Bulgarians, who have been doing yeomen’s work in this field, unearthing over 100 vampire burials in recent years, raising awareness of the grave threat that vampires have posed throughout history.
In 2009, National Geographic reported that archaeologists digging near Venice, Italy, uncovered the corpse of a woman buried in the Middle Ages with a brick in her mouth. The brick is thought to have kept the would-be monster from chomping on the living if she decided to rise from the crypt. We might need effective vampire-proofing techniques like this in the near future!
Historians like to keep us in the dark by characterizing vampire-proofing techniques simply as longstanding superstitions and the results of misinterpreting the physiological effects of death. Their shortsightedness is exactly why it’s the Archaeologists we’re counting on to keep us on guard for the looming monster apocalypse.
Did you know that werewolves have been around for over 10,000 years? It’s true! X-files or not, the FBI doesn’t seem to care. But archaeology has held the phenomenon in its sights while the complacent authorities sit around polishing their silver bullets.
Archaeologists inspired by novelist Max Brooks and his book “The Zombie Survival Guide,” contemplated the notion that headless skeletons found at the ancient Egyptian city of Heirakonpolis could be the remnants of a repulsed zombie attack and that the famed Pallette of Narmer, depicting stacks of decapitated corpses, is actually a historical record of that battle against the undead. The team even demonstrated how a hardened field archaeologist would dispatch a modern-day zombie with a digging trowel.
Lucky for us, in 2009, archaeologists uncovered proof of flying sky monsters in 2,000-year-old Mayan ruins. Information on how to defend against such cosmic proto-gargoyles is still on the way. But when the heavens turn on us, I’m teaming up with the diggers – they’re ahead of the curve.
And lest you think we’re safe from the scourge of giants walking the earth, 21st century discoveries shine light on a past overshadowed by massive men blocking our sunshine. Who’s to say these titans won’t return to claim the world once more?
The archaeologists couldn’t come to the rescue at a better time. Just when an explosion of popular stories about vampires, zombies, werewolves and all sorts of monsters are awakening our age-old terror, these scoopers of the soil, these doctors of the dig, these heroes of the historical are uncovering critical bits of evidence that serve as wake-up calls and possibly lifesaving tips in a world that’s growing increasingly treacherous for the flesh-and-blood living!
Here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger — 3 weird things archaeology teaches us about vampires, zombies and monsters:
- The Lazzaretto vampire with a brick in her mouth demonstrates why hiding in a brick house has never been considered an effective defense against a determined bloodsucker.
- Mom was right: If you find an ancient disembodied skull, don’t touch it – infected brain dust can turn you into a zombie.
- Reconstructed ‘giant’s skeletons’ help us identify their weak spots (based on the photo above, I’d say the nards).
Chris Everheart is author of the YA thriller