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  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    'Vampire cemetery' found in Poland

    Construction workers building a road near the town of Gliwice in southern Poland this month came across four skeletons buried in a bizarre way. Their skulls had been cut off and placed between the knees or hands of the dead. Later, a further 13 skeletons arranged in a similar way were found.Adding to the mystery, nothing -- no jewellery, remains of clothing or coins, not even a button -- was found on the bodies.Archaeologists now believe that the bodies date from the 15th or 16th centuries, when the fear of vampires was widespread in Eastern Europe. Lukasz Obtulowicz, an archaeologist from the monument protection office in the nearby city of Katowice, said there were clear indications that this was the site of a vampire burial, noting that stones had been placed on the skulls. "All this served to prevent the vampires from returning to life," he said in a television interview....

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    CSI: Italian Renaissance

    High on the facade of Santa Maria Antica, among soaring Gothic spires and forbidding statues of knights in armor, pathologist Gino Fornaciari prepared to examine a corpse. Accompanied by workmen, he had climbed a 30-foot scaffold erected against this medieval church in Verona, Italy, and watched as they used hydraulic jacks to raise the massive lid of a marble sarcophagus set in a niche. Peering inside, Fornaciari found the body of a male in his 30s, wearing a long silk mantle, arms crossed on his chest. The abdomen was distended from postmortem putrefaction, although Fornaciari caught no scent of decomposition, only a faint waft of incense. He and the laborers eased the body onto a stretcher and lowered it to the ground; after dark, they loaded it into a van and drove to a nearby hospital, where Fornaciari began a series of tests to determine why the nobleman died—and how he had lived.

  • Originally published 04/11/2013

    Mammoth discovered in Mexico

    Picture a 30-year-old male, wandering the wilderness alone, far from his friends, seeking love. Let's call him Manny.Picture him trudging from lake to lake in the Mexican mountains, having climbed nearly half a mile from his pals into the hills to the picturesque watering holes, in search of a mate.Now flash forward some 12,000 years to modern day Mexico City, where residents of the suburb of Milpa Alto recently stumbled across the most complete mammoth skeleton ever found in the country, the National Institute of Anthropology and History announced Monday.... 

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    11 pre-Hispanic bodies found at Peru sports center

    The discovery of pre-Hispanic remains was made at the Huaca Tupac Amaru B site at the National Sports Village. The 400-square-meter (yard) site sits just a few meters (feet) from the stadium where Peru's national soccer team trains. Archaeologist Fernando Herrera, head of the project, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that three sets of remains were determined to belong to the Lima culture, which developed between A.D. 200 and 700. The eight other skeletons came from the more recent Yschma culture, between A.D. 1000 and 1400, he said....

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton

    A team of researchers led by the UAB has found the first ancient remains of a calcified ovarian teratoma, in the pelvis of the skeleton of a woman from the Roman era. The find confirms the presence in antiquity of this type of tumour - formed by the remains of tissues or organs, which are difficult to locate during the examination of ancient remains. Inside the small round mass, four teeth and a small piece of bone were found.Teratomas are usually benign and contain remains of organic material, such as hair, teeth, bones and other tissues. There are no references in the literature to ovarian teratomas in ancient remains like those found in this study, led by the researcher Núria Armentano of the Biological Anthropology Unit of the UAB and published in the International Journal of Paleopathology....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Storms reveal Iron Age skeleton on Shetland Islands

    A series of storms that hit Scotland's Shetland Islands over the holidays revealed what archaeologists believe could be 2,000-year-old human remains.Police were initially called to the scene when storms eroded a cliff at Channerwick and exposed the skeleton, but officials soon determined that they wouldn't have to open a homicide investigation.Local archaeologist Chris Dyer said the ancient skeleton looked as if it were contemporary with the remains of Iron Age structures revealed nearby. Researchers then identified evidence of one or possibly two more burials at the site, but another storm caused a further chunk of the cliff to crumble, covering up the discovery....

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