Toruń archaeologists discover a woman’s burial unprecedented in Poland  

Mirosław Blicharski Gazeta Pomorska

Researchers from the Institute of Archaeology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń discovered an unprecedented burial of a woman from the 17th century in Poland. To prevent her from rising from the grave, a sickle was placed on her neck, and a padlock on the big toe of her left foot. The find was made in the village of Pień, in the municipality of Dąbrowa Chełmińska.

Witches and hags have always been feared. It was feared that they might rise from the grave and continue to do harm. That is why from ancient time people have taken precautions to prevent their return. The methods varied- sometimes it was an aspen stake, other times a sharp tool made of iron.

“Ways of preventing the dead from returning include cutting off the head or legs, laying the deceased face down on the ground to bite into it, burning them, knocking them down with a stone. The form of the grave, its location in relation to the entire necropolis and the artefacts found are also important”, explains Professor Dariusz Poliński from the Institute of Archaeology at Nicolaus Copernicus University.

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