The Greeks were afraid that the dead would come back to life. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Bernard Gagnon
The concept of the dead rising from their graves is certainly not unique to today's movies and TV shows.
In a cemetery near the coastal town of Kamarina in southeastern Sicily archaeologists discovered several bodies that the ancient Greeks had deliberately pinned down using heavy objects as a way to ensure that they would never be able to rise from the dead.
One of the individuals appeared to have died from a mysterious illness that had worried authorities to such an extent that several large ceramic fragments had been placed on top of the remains.
A second body, that of a teenager, had also been pinned in place by five large stones.
"Necrophobia, or the fear of the dead, is a concept that has been present in Greek culture from the Neolithic period to the present," said archaeologist Carrie Sulosky Weaver.
Strangely there were also indications that some of the local inhabitants had been attempting to accomplish the complete opposite by performing rituals intended to summon the dead.
Tablets ( known as 'Katadesmoi' ) transcribed with spells and curses were also found at the site.
"The tablets contained petitions that were addressed to underworld dieties who would command the spirits of the dead to fulfill the request of the petitioner," said Weaver.
"Although these acts appear to be contradictory, together they provide a powerful testimony to the ways in which the ancient Greeks conceptualized the dead."
Source: Discovery News | Comments (11)
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