ARCHAEOLOGISTS have been left disturbed after finding a mass grave which contains evidence of medieval “living dead”.
Human bones excavated from a long-abandoned village in North Yorkshire show evidence of being burned and mutilated, experts said.
They date from the 11th to 14th centuries and were found in a pit within the village of Wharram Percy.
Experts believe this is the first evidence of practices aimed at stopping corpses rising from their graves and menacing the living.
Many in the Middle Ages believed people could rise from the dead and attack fellow humans.
Medieval writers described various ways of dealing with the “zombies” who were believed to be a lingering life-force in people who had committed evil deeds while alive.
These included digging up bodies, decapitating and dismembering them and burning the pieces in a fire.
A team from Historic England and the University of Southampton studied 137 bones found in the village, representing the mixed remains of at least 10 people.
Many bones had multiple knife marks and there is also evidence suggesting they were deliberately broken after death and burned.