Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Witch Burial?

I have doubts about the explanation for these burials. I am wondering if something other than "witchcraft" was at work in what sounds like ritualistic ways the three women were buried.

'Witch's graveyard' unearthed in Italy13:30 AEST Mon Sep 26 2011
By ninemsn staff
From news.ninemsn.com.au

Archaeologists have unearthed the skeletal remains of an 800-year-old woman with nails driven into her jaw in what could be a 'witch's graveyard' in Italy.

The bones found at Piombino, near Lucca in Tuscany, were surrounded by 13 nails, were not wrapped in any burial shroud and the woman was not buried in a coffin, Daily Mail reports.

The nails, driven into the woman's jaw, may have been placed there to prevent her from rising from the dead.

Two years ago a female skull was found near Venice with a stone driven through its mouth, which experts said was a traditional way of preventing vampires rising from the dead.

Another female body dug up at the site was surrounded by 17 dice — 17 is an unlucky number in Italy because of its association with death.

When 17 is written in Roman numerals the letters can be easily rearranged to make the Latin word vixi which means 'I have lived' and can be considered a euphemism for 'I am dead'.

Dice were also used in a game women were banned from playing 800 years ago.
[What game?]

Alfonso Forgione, an archaeologist from L'Aquila University who is leading the dig, is convinced the women were killed for practicing witchcraft.

"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."

However, the archaeologist remains unable to explain why the women, if they were witches, were interred in hallowed ground, as the burial site is also the site of an ancient church.

"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.

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