The remains, which were exhumed by folks from the University of Arizona, Stanford, and locals, was discovered with a stone intentionally put into its mouth. Check it out:
Researchers say that the stone was put in the kid's mouth as part of part of a funeral ritual intended to prevent disease, and also to prevent him/her from returning from the grave (even by fifth century logic, what?) This "vampire burial" was described by archeologist/professor David Soren as "extremely eerie and weird." He added to that by saying he'd "never seen anything like it," while also noting "locally, they're calling it the 'Vampire of Lugnano.'"
The child's corpse came from a burial ground that dates back to a malaria outbreak that killed many little tykes in the area around 400 A.D.:
The oldest body that had been previously unearthed from the site was that of a three-year-old girl.
Excavation director David Pickel added that "Given the age of this child and its unique deposition, with the stone placed within his or her mouth, it represents, at the moment, an anomaly within an already abnormal cemetery."
The site, known as La Necropoli dei Bambini, had previously revealed toddler and infant bones next to objects associated with magic and witchcraft. For those of you who never went through a high school goth phase, those objects included "raven talons, toad bones, bronze cauldrons filled with ash and the remains of puppies that appear to have been sacrificed."
While the techniques intended to keep the 10-year-old from becoming a zombie made headlines, it was not the only body fifth-century villagers took that probably unnecessary precaution with. In fact, the three-year-old girl that was dug up also had stones tied to her hands and feet to keep her from rising from her grave. If you've ever seen a mob movie you might think this was a custom passed down from generation-to-generation, but it turns out that zombie prevention techniques which aim to keep dead people in their burial plots have been performed by many cultures throughout the world.
"We know that the Romans were very much concerned with this and would even go to the extent of employing witchcraft to keep the evil - whatever is contaminating the body - from coming out," Soren said.
To that bioarchaeologist Jordan Wilson added: "It's a very human thing to have complicated feelings about the dead and wonder if that's really the end."
All things considered *checks calendar to confirm it's October* you couldn't have timed this news much better.