When archaeologists unearthed a skeleton with a stake in its chest, they were quick to dub it a "vampire grave." The researchers say the stake was driven into the skeleton "to stop the dead rising," according to The Telegraph.
The archaeologists found the medieval skeleton during an excavation of the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city in southern Bulgaria that is believed to have been home to the Temple of Dionysus. They have dated the grave to the first half of the 13th century C.E.
Ovcharov's team found that the skeleton is likely of a man between 40 and 50 years old. The skeleton had an iron stake — a ploughshare, specifically — rammed through its chest and into one of its shoulderbones.
"We have no doubts that, once again, we're seeing an anti-vampire ritual being carried out," Nikolai Ovcharov, the archaeologist who found the skeleton, told The Telegraph. "Often they were applied to people who had died in unusual circumstances, such as suicide."
In addition to the vampire grave, the excavation also led to the discovery of the remains of a woman and a child, laid in a way that resembled an image of the Virgin Mary and her son, which the archaeologists speculate was done to repel the bubonic plague. The Telegraph notes that the skeleton is the third "vampire" found in Bulgaria.