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Are Medieval Zombies Real? First Scientific Evidence of Villagers Versus the Undead Found in a Mass Grave

Apr 05, 2017 10:07 AM EDT
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A study has found that previous inhabitants of Wharram Percy, England, which is now an abandoned community somewhere in north Yorkshire, England, believed in a zombie apocalypse.

A team from Historic England and the University of Southampton has found a pit on the village and discovered horrific evidence that the villagers burn and chop up bodies of the dead before burying them. Radiometric dating of 137 bone fragments reveals that they were from the 11th to 13th centuries.

Gizmodo noted that based on the team's analysis, the mutilation was done not prior to the person's death but after it. Hence, it was concluded by the team that the villagers are deliberately marring the bodies to prevent them from rising from the dead.

Other theory considered is cannibalism, and that the bodies were treated like that because they were outsiders. However, as pointed out by co-author Alistair Pike, evidence provided by the unearthed remains suggest they are from the area.

"Strontium isotopes in teeth reflect the geology on which an individual was living as their teeth formed in childhood. A match between the isotopes in the teeth and the geology around Wharram Percy suggests they grew up in an area close to where they were buried, possibly in the village. This was surprising to us, as we first wondered if the unusual treatment of the bodies might relate to their being from further afield, rather than local," he said in a statement.

The team concluded that all the evidence point to the villagers' fear of the undead.

The scientific findings of the study support the medieval beliefs and writings which describe ways on decapitating bodies to keep them from rising. Telegraph said ancient people believed reanimation could be possible for those who had committed evil deeds or caused animosity when they were alive.

"The idea that the Wharram Percy bones are the remains of corpses burnt and dismembered to stop them walking from their graves seems to fit the evidence best. If we are right, then this is the first good archaeological evidence we have for this practice," Simon Mays, lead author of the study, asserted.

Findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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