Roman-era tomb studded with magical ‘dead nails’ and sealed to protect the living from the ‘restless dead’

In ancient Rome, people may have feared the “restless dead”, according to the discovery of a cremation tomb strewn with intentionally bent nails and sealed not only with two dozen bricks but also with a layer of plaster, according to a new study.

The unusual grave, found at Sagalassos site (opens in a new tab) in southwestern Turkey and dating from AD 100-150, had 41 bent and twisted nails strewn along the edges of its cremation pyre, 24 bricks that had been meticulously placed on the still-smoldering pyre, and a layer of lime plaster on top of that. The individual – an adult male – was cremated and buried in the same location, an unusual practice in roman periodaccording to the study, published February 21 in the journal antiquity (opens in a new tab).

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