800-Year-Old Remains of “Witch” Discovered
September 26, 2011
Female skeleton of 800-year-old suspected witch, due to the circumstance of her burial, uncovered in Piombino, near Lucca in Tuscany.
The archaeological dig took place in a graveyard amongst additional women ranging in ages from 25 to 30; all of whom are buried in simple, shallow graves with no coffins.
Seven nails are driven through her jaw and thirteen nails lie surrounding the skeleton, which evidently pinned her clothes to the ground.
L’Aquila’s University Archaeologist, Alfonso Forgione is the leader of the team that were originally trying to find the burial place of the St Cerbonius; a bishop that died over 1,500 years ago. He is convinced the women were alleged as witches given the conditions they were buried in.
Forgione said: “It’s a very unusual discovery and at the same time fascinating. I have never seen anything like this before. I’m convinced because of the nails found in the jaw and around the skeleton the woman was a witch.”
The team’s second skeleton was found to be buried correspondingly, however with 17 dice surrounding her body. 17 dice is a game that women were prohibited to play 800 years ago. Also, the number 17 itself arranged in Latin means ‘vixi’, Latin for ‘I have lived’, which is a euphemism for ‘I am dead’.
Italy is known for its supernatural finds; two years ago the remains of a medieval woman’s skull was discovered in Venice with a stone wedged through the mouth; a traditional method people used to deal with alleged vampires to prevent them rising from the dead.
The team of archaeologists, however, cannot explain why the women, if suspected of witchcraft, were buried in sacred soil as their section is the site of an 800-year-old church.
Forgione mentions: “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.”
By Davina Qureshi
[Image courtesy of blacque_jacques]