The ancient Greeks definitely wanted their dead to stay dead. But instead of fighting off the resurrected a la The Walking Dead they did what they could to keep them in their graves, an archaeologist has discovered in findings that have convinced her that the Greeks were afraid of zombies.
Evidence uncovered at 2,905 burials at Passo Marinaro in the Greek colony of Kamarina in southeastern Sicily strongly suggests that from the 5th through 3rd century BC, the ancient Greeks believed the dead could rise from the grave and stalk the living — and they tried to keep them down. They put heavy rocks on the graves or spells to keep them below ground. They also used incantations to reach the dead in the after-life to do their bidding so their live relatives could have their way.
"Tablets contained petitions that were addressed to underworld deities who would command the spirits of the dead to fulfill the request of the petitioner," Carrie Sulosky Weaver tells Discovery News.
Two of the grave sites at Kamarina are particularly intriguing. The occupant of Tomb 653 was buried and covered in fragments of amphora (two-handled vessels for storing wine). "The heavy amphora fragments were presumably intended to pin the individual to the grave and prevent it from seeing or rising," said Sulosky Weaver.
The pre-teen internee of Tomb 693 was buried beneath five large stones. These, too, were likely used to "trap the body in its grave," Sulosky Weaver said. "Necrophobia, or the fear of the dead, is a concept that has been present in Greek culture from the Neolithic period to the present."