Scariest Archaeological Discoveries Ever Made
9. Vampire Of Venice
In 2009, archaeologists revealed the discovery of the remains of a female “vampire” in a 16th-century mass grave of plague victims near Venice, Italy. Originally found in 2006 on the Venetian island of Lazzaretto Nuovo, a brick was jammed into the woman’s jaw, forcing her mouth open. Archaeologists were pretty shocked, they had heard stories of this type of thing but there had never been such blatant proof.
8. Books Bound In Human Skin
In 2014, scientists determined that a book found in Harvard called Destinies of the Soul (Des Destinees de l’Ames), was bound in human skin. The study concluded that the literary work was likely covered with the flesh of an unidentified female mental patient who died of natural causes. Written by French novelist Arsene Houssaye, the book ended up in the hands of the author’s friend, Dr. Ludovic Bouland, during the 1880s. Um, I don’t know about you but this is not the type of gift I want!
7. Altamura Man
The Altamura man is a neanderthal that had provided us with the oldest known Neanderthal DNA ever to be extracted. The poor man’s skeletal remains were found in a limestone cave in Altamura, Italy, fused to the limestone walls leaving a horrific skull emerging from the bumpy, crystalized wall.
6. Mummified Lung
In 1959, archaeologist Michel Fleury found a preserved lung inside a stone sarcophagus in the Basilica of St. Denis in Paris, the burial site of many French kings. Buried along with the lung were a skeleton, jewelry, textile and leather fragments, and a strand of hair. Whose were they? The remains belonged to the Merovingian Queen Arnegunde, one of King Clotaire’s six wives, and the mother of King Chilpéric. She lived roughly between 515 and 580, and her burial was identified based on a gold ring bearing the inscription “Arnegundis.”
5. Murder Island Mass Grave
In 1629, a Dutch merchant vessel called the Batavia ran aground on a small coral island roughly 37 miles (60 km) off the Australian coast. Around 60 people out of the 341 souls aboard were lost in the wreck, while another 280 or so sought refuge on Beacon Island, which has since been nicknamed Murder Island.
4. Death Labyrinth
While working at the 3,000-year-old Chavin de Huantar temple in Peru in 2018, scientists discovered a complex maze of underground tunnels, as well as three skeletons of humans who appeared to be killed during sacrifices. They made the fascinating find using tiny, remote controlled robots equipped with lights and cameras, which were designed by Stanford University engineers. Also included among the artifacts found in the tunnels are ceramic fragments and tools.
3. Kabayan Mummy Caves
During the early 20th century, industrial loggers in the forests north of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, discovered hundreds of coffins and human remains inside a series of ancient burial caves. The graves belonged to the Ibaloi tribe, who experts believe interred the remains between the years 1200 and 1500.
2. Shrieking Death Whistles
One of the arguably most terrifying sounds a person might hear is that of the Aztec shrieking death whistle, which, in the words of Reuben Westmaas in a Discovery article, “sounds like a screeching zombie.” It is definitely a shriek of death.
1. Hundreds Of ‘Lost’ Sites
Burned grass and dead crops are almost never a good thing, but a scorching heat wave that hit the U.K. and Ireland in 2018 revealed the presence of around 1,500 archaeological sites over a short, several-week span. The oldest among them date back roughly 5,000 years, to the Neolithic period, while others are from as recent as the Tudor dynasty.