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Archaeology & History

Roman-era tomb used magical 'dead nails' to ward off 'restless dead'

By T.K. Randall
March 14, 2023 · Comment icon 0 comments

Sagalassos, Turkey. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 BerkhanTr
Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old tomb in Turkey that was sealed off to protect the living from the dead.
Unearthed at the famed archaeological site of Sagalassos in the country's southwest, the tomb, which dates back to A.D. 100-150, contains evidence to suggest that the people of the time were terrified that the dead might rise up from the grave to haunt the living.

So great was this fear that they had seemingly scattered several dozen bent and twisted nails (known as "dead nails") around the edges of the tomb's cremation pyre before sealing the whole thing off with bricks and plaster.

"The burial was closed off with not one, not two, but three different ways that can be understood as attempts to shield the living from the dead - or the other way around," archaeologist and study first author Johan Claeys of Catholic University Leuven in Belgium told Live Science.
Several funeral items were also unearthed at the site, including woven baskets, coins, ceramic vessels, glassware and food remains.

"It seems clear that the deceased was buried with all appropriate aplomb," said Claeys.

"It seems likely that was the suitable way of parting with a loved one at the time."

Source: Live Science | Comments (0)

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