For those who read the archaeoblog on June 6th of this year, there is an update on our Bulgarian vampire story. The vampire has been reburied and ritually laid to rest by the “Bulgarian Indiana Jones” — Nikolay Ovcharov.
Earlier in June, Bulgarian archaeologists in the Black Sea town of Sozopol found the grave of a medieval noble whose skeleton had a metal spike in its chest, an apparent precaution ritual against vampirism designed to prevent the dead person from rising from his grave as a vampire. Within a few weeks, the discovery, which made global headlines, was followed by a couple of more instances of unearthing of medieval graves bearing signs of rituals against vampirism.
Unlike the first “vampire” in Sozopol, however, the one whose grave was uncovered by Ovcharov and Vachev in Veliko Tarnovo did not have a spike in his chest but was buried with his hands and feed tied, and with pieces of ember placed inside the grave. According to ethnographic experts, these are signs of a medieval ritual designed to prevent after-death vampirism.
Also unlike the other medieval “vampire“, whose grave was found in Sozopol, and whose skeleton has been taken to Bulgaria’s National History Museum in Sofia, the “vampire” found in Veliko Tarnovo was reburied by Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov after it was studied by the archaeologists.
As part of the ritual, red wine was poured on the remains (I assume this is symbolic of blood, like other rituals that use ochre?). Obviously times are tough if wine only comes in 1-litre disposable water-bottles: