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The Odd, the Unusual, and the StrangeBioarchaeological Explorations of Atypical Burials$
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Tracy K. Betsinger, Amy B. Scott, and Anastasia Tsaliki

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401032

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401032.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

The “Vampires” of Lesbos

The “Vampires” of Lesbos

Detecting and Interpreting Anti-Revenant Ritual in Greece

Chapter:
(p.292) 15 The “Vampires” of Lesbos
Source:
The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange
Author(s):

Sandra Garvie-Lok

Anastasia Tsaliki

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9781683401032.003.0015

Greece has a long tradition of vampire beliefs that often involved treating corpses or graves to dispel vampires, practices that should be archaeologically visible and fairly common. However, proposed archaeological cases are surprisingly few. Here we review normative burial traditions in early modern Greece, as well as documentary and ethnographic evidence for vampire-related mortuary ritual. This clarifies the archaeological signs these rituals should leave behind and their deeper significance as attempts to restore the smooth course of a disrupted death journey. Two Ottoman-era burials recovered on the island of Lesbos are discussed as likely instances of vampire ritual, and we consider why vampire burials might be underreported archaeologically and offer some suggestions for their improved detection and study in the future.

Keywords:   Greece, Vampire, Burial tradition, Lesbos, Revenant, Ottoman era

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