The Skeleton of Witch Girl In Italy

On 2014, an archaeological dig in northern Italy has unearthed the remains of a 13-year-old-girl buried with face-down. Dubbed by Italian media as “the witch girl, the skeleton was unearthed at the complex of San Calocero in Albenga on the Ligurian Riviera by a team of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology at the Vatican. Archaeologists say, that despite her young age, she was rejected by her community and seen as a danger even when dead. Face-down burials could be "a treatment used for murderers and thieves," excavation director Stefano Roascio told the Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX. Another possibility is that the girl was buried that way out of a superstitious belief that it would prevent her from being resurrected, or coming back to haunt the living as a spirit.

The skeleton showed signs of porotic hyperostosis on the skull and orbits - which were the result of severe anaemia.
Mysterious Skeleton of young girl buried with face-down

"She could have suffered from an inherited blood disorder such as thalassemia or from hemorrhagic conditions. More simply, it could have been an iron lacking diet," anthropologist Elena Dellù told Discovery News.

According to Caroline Arcini of Sweden's National Heritage Board, convicted witches and rule-breaking nuns were also buried in prone positions.

“These rare [prone] burials are explained as an act of punishment. What the dead had done was not accepted by the community,” Roascio told Discovery News.

In extreme cases, a face-down burial was used as the ultimate punishment, with the victim horrifically buried alive. Intriguingly, her disrespectful burial was found in a privileged area, just in front of the church. “This makes the finding even more unusual. A similar case of a teenager buried face-down in front of a church was found at the archaeological site of Pava near Siena,” Roascio told Discovery News.


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