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BMÖ 35 | 2019

Leben mit dem Tod


Der Umgang mit Sterblichkeit in Mittelalter
und Neuzeit

Beiträge der internationalen Tagung in St. Pölten


11. bis 15. September 2018
Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich

OGM
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Mittelalterarchäologie
Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich 35 | 2019
Editorial Board
Stefan Eichert (Natural History Museum Vienna, Department of Prehistory)
Hubert Emmerig (Universität Wien, Institut für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte)
Sabine Felgenhauer-Schmiedt (Universität Wien, Institut für Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie)
Elfriede Hannelore Huber (Forschungsgesellschaft Wiener Stadtarchäologie)
Heike Krause (Stadtarchäologie Wien)
Karin Kühtreiber (Wien)
Thomas Kühtreiber (Universität Salzburg, Institut für Realienkunde des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit)
Manfred Lehner (Universität Graz, Institut für Archäologie)
Natascha Mehler (Universität Wien, Institut für Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie)
Katarina Katja Predovnik (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology)
Ronald Risy (Stadtarchäologie St. Pölten)
Gabriele Scharrer-Liška (Universität Wien, VIAS)
Martin Schmid (Universität Klagenfurt, Zentrum für Umweltgeschichte / Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Institut für Soziale Ökologie)
Harald Stadler (Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Archäologien)
Kinga Tarcsay (Stadtarchäologie Wien)
Claudia Theune (Universität Wien, Institut für Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie)

Mission Statement
Die „Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich“ (im Folgenden „BMÖ“) werden seit 1985 als jährlich erscheinende wissenschaftli-
che Zeitschrift von der „Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Mittelalterarchäologie“ (ÖGM) herausgegeben. Entsprechend den statutenge-
mäßen Vereinszielen dient die Zeitschrift der Präsentation und Verbreitung aktueller archäologischer Forschungsergebnisse mit einem
zeitlichen Schwerpunkt von der Völkerwanderungszeit bis in das 19. Jahrhundert. Im Sinne der Historischen Archäologie sind die BMÖ
auch offen für Forschungen zur zeitgeschichtlichen Archäologie. Auch rein methodologische Arbeiten ohne räumliche oder zeitliche Spe-
zialisierung werden berücksichtigt. Die Zeitschrift ist offen für Beiträge von Autoren aller archäologischen oder verwandten Disziplinen.
Den geographischen Rahmen bildet Europa, insbesondere Zentraleuropa mit den Nachbarländern des heutigen Österreichs.
Durch das Publizieren der von der ÖGM veranstalteten, international besetzten Tagungen zu aktuellen Forschungsfragen sind die
BMÖ auch ein zentrales Vermittlungsmedium für internationale Forschung zur Mittelalter- und Neuzeitarchäologie im deutschsprachi-
gen Raum. Auf diese Weise sind die Forschungen in Österreich in einen gesamteuropäischen Kontext eingebunden. Darüber hinaus be-
inhalten die BMÖ Artikel und Buchrezensionen zur Mittelalterarchäologie und Historischen Archäologie sowie verwandten Disziplinen
in Österreich und Europa.
Publikationssprachen sind Deutsch und Englisch. Die wissenschaftlichen Beiträge in den BMÖ unterliegen einem Peer-Review-Ver-
fahren durch unabhängige externe Gutachter sowie Gutachter aus dem Kreis des Editorial Boards. Seit 2018 sind die BMÖ bzw. die darin
publizierten Artikel in Scopus gelistet und zitiert.

***

The „Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich“ (BMÖ/Contributions to Medieval Archaeology in Austria) is the scientific journal of
the “Österreichische Gesellschaft für Mittelalterarchäologie” (ÖGM/Austrian Society for Medieval Archaeology) and has been published
annually since 1985. According to the aims of the society as expressed in the statutes, the journal serves the presentation and dissemi-
nation of archaeological results with a chronological focus on the period between the migration period and the 19th century. As part of
its commitment to historical archaeology the BMÖ is also open to research into the archaeology of the recent past. Methodical papers
without a specific geographical or temporal focus may also be accepted. The journal is open to contributions to authors from all archaeo-
logical or related disciplines. The geographical area dealt with is Europe, with a particular focus on Central Europe, including the countries
which border on modern-day Austria.
The publication of the papers from the international conferences on contemporary research questions organised by the ÖGM means
that the BMÖ plays an international role in medieval and post-medieval archaeology within the German language area. Austrian re-
searches are thus embedded in a trans-European context. The BMÖ also includes further articles and book reviews on the medieval and
historical archaeology of Austria and Europe as well as related areas.
Publication languages are German and English. Articles published in the BMÖ are subject to a peer review procedure carried out by
independent external reviewers as well as by members of the Editorial Board. Since 2018 papers published in BMÖ are included and cited
in Scopus.
Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich
35 | 2019

Leben mit dem Tod


Der Umgang mit Sterblichkeit in Mittelalter und
Neuzeit

Beiträge der internationalen Tagung in St. Pölten


11. bis 15. September 2018

Herausgegeben von

Thomas Kühtreiber
Ronald Risy
Gabriele Scharrer-Liška
Claudia Theune

OGM
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Mittelalterarchäologie

Wien 2020
Der Druck dieses Bandes wurde ermöglicht durch die freundliche Unterstützung von:
Amt der Niederösterreichischen Landesregierung, Gruppe Kultur, Wissenschaft und Unterricht, Abteilung Wissenschaft
und Forschung
Stadt St. Pölten
Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien, Wissenschafts- und Forschungsförderung

Alle Rechte vorbehalten


© 2020 by Österreichische Gesellschaft für Mittelalterarchäologie, Wien

Herausgeber: Österreichische Gesellschaft für Mittelalterarchäologie, 1190 Wien, Franz-Klein-Gasse 1


https://www.univie.ac.at/oegm

ISSN: 1011-0062
ISBN: 978-3-903192-03-4

Redaktion: Gabriele Scharrer-Liška


Lektorat: Hans Müller, Gabriele Scharrer-Liška
Englisches Lektorat und Übersetzungen: Paul Mitchell
Ungarisches Lektorat: Kinga Tarcsay
Satz, Layout und Gestaltung: Karin Kühtreiber
Covermotiv: Drei Seiten eines Wendekopfes aus den Grabungen in St. Pölten-Domplatz. Foto: Niki Gail, © Stadtmuseum
St. Pölten. Montage/Bearbeitung: Karin Kühtreiber
Druck: Print Alliance HAV Produktions GmbH, 2540 Bad Vöslau
Inhaltsverzeichnis

Thomas Kühtreiber und Claudia Theune


Zum Tagungsthema������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 7

Romedio Schmitz-Esser
Leben mit dem Tod in interdisziplinärer Perspektive: Aktuelle Forschungsfelder, neue Fragen������������������������������� 13

Orte des Todes


Ronald Risy und Fabian Kanz
Ein erster Einblick in neun Jahre archäologische Untersuchungen am Domplatz von St. Pölten, Niederösterreich���� 27

Katja Grüneberg-Wehner
Der Kirchenraum als Bestattungsort. Die spätmittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Gräber der
St. Catharinenkirche an der südlichen Eckernförder Bucht, Kr. Rendsburg-Eckernförde, Deutschland ���������������� 53

Bettina Jungklaus
Sonderbestattungen aus dem Dreißigjährigen Krieg in Nordostdeutschland und ihr Kontext������������������������������ 67

Ortrun Kögler und Ullrike Zeger


Wie viele Friedhöfe braucht eine Stadt? Die Entdeckung einer weiteren Begräbnisstätte
in Hainburg/Donau, Niederösterreich ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 85

Wolfgang Breibert, Nina Brundke und Martin Obenaus


Richtstättenarchäologie in Niederösterreich. Ergebnisse der archäologischen Untersuchungen des
Gföhler Richtplatzes 2015 und 2016��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 100

Bernd Heinzle, Christine Cooper und Thomas Reitmaier


... bis endlich der Erbarmer Tod eintrifft und die heimatliche und staatliche Fürsorge und Humanität überflüssig macht.
Der Friedhof der neuzeitlichen Korrektionsanstalt Cazis-Realta, Graubünden, Schweiz��������������������������������������118

Mária Vargha und Maxim Mordovin


Dead Space. Topographical changes of cemeteries – causes and indicators��������������������������������������������������������� 135

Norm und Praxis im Umgang mit Toten


Barbara Hausmair
„Traufkinder“ im Mittelalter? Überlegungen zu Kleinkindbestattungen, Taufstatus und
einem populären Deutungsansatz������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 150

Juliane Lippok
Ins Netz gegangen? Totenkronen, Praxistheorien und Netzwerkanalysen����������������������������������������������������������� 167

Siniša Krznar
The reflection of folk beliefs in burial customs in the Early Modern period in northern Croatia ����������������������� 179

Hubert Emmerig
Die Geldbörse beim Leichnam����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 187

Bendeguz Tobias, Konstantina Saliari, Erich Draganits, Christina Musalek, Karin Wiltschke-Schrotta,
Thomas Koch Waldner, Ralf Totschnig, Christina Strobel, Harald Niederstätter, Walter Parson,
Roman Skomorowski und Klaus Löcker
Das frühmittelalterliche Gräberfeld von Podersdorf am See (Burgenland, Ostösterreich).
Veränderung der Bestattungssitten im diachronen Vergleich�����������������������������������������������������������������������������209
Karina Grömer und Michael Ullermann
Funktionstechnische Analyse von neuzeitlichen Kleidungsstücken aus der Michaelergruft, Wien 1���������������������227

Péter Prohászka und Gabriel Nevizánsky


Atypische Bestattungen im mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Kirchenfriedhof von
Nesvady-Jánoskapart, Slowakei�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������237

Individuum und Kollektiv


Regina Ströbl und Andreas Ströbl
Mit Näglein besteckt … Fürsorge über den Tod hinaus���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������250

Georges Descœudres
Beinhäuser in der Schweiz: Entstehen und Verschwinden���������������������������������������������������������������������������������259

Oliver Fries
Die Rundkarner des Waldviertels (Niederösterreich). Ein Beitrag zur Typologie, Verbreitung und
Funktion dieses Zentralbautyps�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������274

Jana Nováčková, Martin Omelka, Otakara Řebounová und Vlastimil Stenzl


Die Begräbnispraxis des Prager barocken Bürgertums im Licht der DNA-Analyse���������������������������������������������290

Memorialpraktiken – Medien der Memoria


Ronald Kurt Salzer
Adelige und bürgerliche Begräbnisrituale und Totenmemoria des Spätmittelalters im Spiegel
urkundlicher Quellen. Die Urkunden des Niederösterreichischen Landesarchivs als Fallbeispiel�������������������������303

Sophie Rabitsch
Eine Totenrotel aus der Benediktinerabtei Michaelbeuern (Salzburg): Technologischer Befund und
materialtechnologische Analysen��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 321

Veronika Decker und Markus Jeitler


Habsburgische Trauerkultur im Stadtraum am Beispiel Wiens in der frühen Neuzeit����������������������������������������� 331

Religiöse und konfessionelle Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede


Johanna Kraschitzer
Zwei spätmittelalterliche Bestattungen von der Peloponnes und ihr Kontext�����������������������������������������������������350

Ana Azinović Bebek


Die Angehörigen der römisch-katholischen und der griechisch-katholischen Kirche im Gebiet von
Žumberak (Kroatien) in der Frühen Neuzeit��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 361

Heike Krause
Hernals zwischen Protestantismus, Gegenreformation und Aufklärung. Der Friedhof bei der
Kalvarienbergkirche in Wien 17���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������373

Buchrezensionen�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������389

Nachruf ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 401


Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie
in Österreich 35/2019, S. 179–186

The reflection of folk beliefs in burial customs in the Early Modern


period in northern Croatia

Siniša Krznar

Summary burials have been, until recently, interpreted as resulting


from the fear of the dead. Among other things, a prone po-
During the Early Modern period, the population of north- sition of the deceased was a way of preventing the dead
ern Croatia was largely Roman Catholic. Thus, the de- from returning from their graves after death and hurting
ceased members of the community were buried in parish the living. Several different explanations have been offered
cemeteries, in and around the church. The typical burial in the last decade, but from historical and ethnological lit-
rite was an inhumation in a supine position with extended erature, it is evident that the folk belief in revenants (vam-
legs and with the west-eastern orientation of the body. The pires) was growing during the Early Modern period. In this
graves are usually without grave goods, but sometimes they paper I will try to interpret prone burials found on north-
contain parts of clothing, jewellery and objects of personal ern Croatian archaeological sites and establish whether they
devotion such as rosaries, small medals and crosses. How- can be linked to the growth of folk beliefs in the undead.
ever, in some cases there are exceptions and one finds so-
called deviant or unusual burials. On the Torčec-Cirkvišče, Keywords: burial customs, prone position, folk beliefs, reve-
Crkvari and Nova Rača sites, four skeletons in prone posi- nants, fear of the dead
tion were found during archaeological investigations. Such

1. Introduction graphical areas, periods, and religious and cultural contexts


do not allow their precise interpretation. In 2008, Edel-
The rural population of northern Croatia, i.e. of the area traud Aspöck brings the following, rather broad, but gen-
bounded by the Drava, Danube and Sava rivers, was mainly erally acceptable definition:
Roman Catholic in the Early Modern period. The par- “[…] the minimal definition of ‘deviant burials’ that
ish cemeteries located on a consecrated space around the most archaeologists would agree to is that they are burials
church and including the interior of the building were the different from the normative burial ritual of the respective
only places where the deceased could be buried.1 The usual period, region and/or cemetery. These differences may oc-
funeral rite involved an west-east oriented burial, with the cur in body position or treatment, location or construction
deceased laid on his/her back and with the legs extended. of the grave or types of grave goods.” 2
The deceased were laid in the grave in a wooden coffin or While in the European literature there are numerous
wrapped in a shroud. The position of the arms varied. We discussions and arguments about the causes and interpreta-
find them stretched alongside the body, on the pelvis, on tion of such special burials,3 in Croatian archaeology it is a
the abdomen or on the chest. Finds in graves are rare, but completely marginalized topic on which only a few papers
occasionally clothes, jewellery and items of personal devo- have been published.4
tion such as rosaries, medals, crosses and breviaries can be
found. Sometimes, however, due to certain circumstances,
there is deviation from this common ritual and individu-
als are buried in ways which do not conform to common
social norms. Unusual burials occur during different time
2 Aspöck 2008, 17.
periods among numerous societies in different parts of the 3 See Brundke 2013; Duma 2010; Duma 2015; Gardeła 2011;
world. Numerous variations that occur in different geo- Gardeła 2013; Gardeła 2015a; Gardeła 2015b; Gardeła 2017;
Gardeła and Kajkowski 2013; Murphy 2008; Reynolds 2009;
Unger 2006.
1 In certain cases, individual monasteries also had the right to have 4 Filipec 2016; Krznar and Bedić 2016; Krznar and Tkalčec
cemeteries. 2017.

179
Siniša Krznar

2. Prone burials in northern Croatia

In addition to the decapitation of the deceased, the most


striking cases of unusual burials are without doubt those in
which the body of the deceased was placed in a prone po-
sition. In all archaeological excavations carried out so far in
northern Croatia, this position of the body was established
in four cases, at three sites (Fig. 1). One unusual burial was
found on the sites of Nova Rača and Crkvari-Sv. Lovro
and two at the Torčec-Cirkvišče site.5 Unlike most of the
face-down burials from the European area, which date to
the Early Middle Ages,6 all four burials can be dated to the
Early Modern period, based on their position, stratigraphic
relations and individual finds.
A total of 286 Late Medieval and Early Modern graves
were investigated at the cemetery at the Church of the As-
sumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nova Rača dur-
ing the research period from 1986 to 1995. The results of
the archaeological research, unfortunately, have been only
partially published so far. Thus, data on how many graves Fig. 1 Map of sites with prone burials. 1: Nova Rača. – 2: Torčec. –
are dated in the Late Medieval and how many in the Early 3: Crkvari.
Modern periods, and about the spatial distribution of
graves within the cemetery, are unavailable to me. In grave
179, a skeleton of a woman was found placed face-down
with crossed legs. Anthropological analysis established that
it was a woman who was between 20 and 24 years old at
the time of her death.7 A mild active periostitis and swol-
len meningeal arteries on the endocrine side of the skull
were noted suggesting some type of inflammatory process
within the skull. In addition, it was found that the left arm
of the deceased was shorter than the right by 23 mm, but
there are no traces of atrophy or trauma. However, there is
a benign cortical defect on the insertion of the pectoralis
major muscle, which means that the shorter left hand was
used more than the right one.8
The Medieval and Early Modern period cemeter-
ies and modest remains of the foundations of the Church
of St. Stephan the King were explored at the Torčec-
Cirkvišče site in 2004, 2009, and from 2011 to 2016. A to-
tal of 453 graves were found. For now, 130 graves can be
dated to the Early Modern Period, but this is not the total
number because the stratification and dating of all graves
have not yet taken place. Two of the graves explored con-
tained a prone burial. In both cases it was an adult man
buried on the north side of the church. The deceased in
grave 83 (Fig. 2) was buried with his knees slightly bent,
a rectangular iron belt buckle was found under his waist.9
The man was aged between 30 and 35 at the time of death.
Common pathologies such as osteoarthritis, Schmorl’s de-
fects, and subadult stress indicators (ectocranial porosity and
hypoplasia of the dental enamel) have been established on

5 Preliminary results of this research were already published in


Krznar and Bedić 2016.
6 Brundke 2013; Farrell 2012; Gardeła 2017; Reynolds 2009.
7 Jakovljević and Šlaus 2003, 136.
8 Krznar and Bedić 2016, 212.
9 Krznar 2012, 57. Fig. 2 Torčec-Cirkvišče. Prone burial in grave 83.

180
The reflection of folk beliefs in burial customs in the Early Modern period in northern Croatia

the bones, but no more serious forms of pathological con- no severe pathological changes have been observed on the
ditions have been observed. It is interesting, however, that skeleton.
the deceased is missing his left foot. The younger man, aged A deceased person buried in a prone position and with
between 16 and 18, was found in grave 224 (Fig. 3). There a wooden stake run through him, was found on the Đele­
were no finds in the grave and several pathological changes kovec-Ščapovo site during research conducted in the late
were observed on the bones: an ante mortem fracture of the 1970s.14 However, as this information was not published
left clavicle, mild periostitis, bone porosity and hypoplastic and as the original documentation of the research is not
defects on the teeth.10 available to us, it was not considered in this paper.
Crkvari-Sv. Lovro site was investigated from 2003 to
2013. Several religious buildings and a part of the ceme-
tery, i.e. 599 graves, dating from the 11th to the beginning of 3. Folk beliefs and unusual burials
the 18th century were explored in the area around and un-
der today’s Chapel of St. Lawrence.11 Out of a total num- In folk beliefs, unusual burials, such as the prone bur-
ber of graves, 227 belong to children and 160 of these can ials mentioned, are most often associated with revenants.
be dated to the Early Modern Period.12 The total num- A widespread belief that the dead can return from their
ber of adults buried in that period has not been published graves and affect the living existed from the ancient period
yet. Grave 376 (Fig. 4) was discovered in the Early Mod- onwards. Revenants appear in many forms during history,
ern period levels beside the foundations of the apse of the and usually do not have good intentions towards the liv-
Chapel of St. Lawrence, on its southern side. It is the burial ing.15 This belief was most popular and widespread during
of a 45 to 50 years old woman. the Early Modern period, i.e. during the 17th and the 18th
Apart from the position of the body, this burial is dis- century when it flourished and spread like an epidemic.16
tinctive due to the finds found in the grave. A knife (Fig. 5) After Austrian, German, British, French and Dutch news-
was found by the right shoulder of the deceased, and an papers published an article on the vampirism case in Serbia
object at first thought to be an iron belt buckle was found in 1732, vampires gained popularity among all classes and
beside her neck.13 Following restoration it proved to be a become a pan-European phenomenon.17 In the Croatian
padlock (Fig. 6). Anthropological analysis has established area, the most common name for a vampire is in fact were-
common degenerative changes (osteoarthritis) and dental wolf (“vukodlak”), but other names are also used: “kudlak”,
diseases (caries, abscesses and dental enamel hypoplasia), but “vukozlak”, “štrigon”, “tenjac”, “kosac”, “lorko”. It should

14 This information was gained through verbal communication with


10 Krznar and Bedić 2016, 210. research participant Zorko Marković.
11 Tkalčec 2014, 75. 15 Lecouteux 2013, 59–81.
12 Tkalčec 2016, 165. 16 Klaniczay 1987; Lecouteux 2013, 11; Šešo 2016, 43.
13 Tkalčec 2012, 27. 17 Rajković Iveta and Iveta 2017, 8–9.

Fig. 3 Torčec-Cirkvišče. Grave 224.

181
Siniša Krznar

Fig. 4 Crkvari. Grave 376 of a woman buried in prone position with a knife and padlock.

be noted that the late medieval term “vukodlak” now no people, abused people yearning for vengeance). Possible
longer referred to a living man, who can be change into a vampires were also those who died prematurely or unusu-
wolf, but to a revenant, and was, accordingly, used as a syn- ally, such as women in labour, children, people who were
onym for a vampire.18 According to popular belief, a were- drowned, the victims of murder and people who commit-
wolf or a vampire was a revenant with a preserved body ted suicide. It also applied to people who remained unbur-
that rose from his grave at night, causing havoc, frighten- ied or were not buried in accordance with common ritual,
ing, physically attacking and strangling people, and drink- those who died without a candle in their hands and those
ing their blood, afterwards disappearing back into his who did not receive the last anointment. Potential vampires
grave with the first rooster’s crow or with the first sound were also people who had some unfinished business, small
of church bells in the morning. Apart from attacking peo- children, an unfulfilled promise or claim, children born out
ple and drinking their blood, vampires were often also ac- of incest, but also the seventh son of the seventh son or
cused of causing and spreading illness and of rape.19 They fifth or seventh son in a row. The deceased also became a
are usually described as bloated skins full of blood and with vampire if an animal – dog, cat, mouse, chicken – passed
no bones. They were often hairy, with a ruddy or darker over or under his body on the catafalque or a cart.21 As can
face, and could be transformed into other forms of animals be seen, there were a large number of causes, involving a
– dogs, cats, oxen, pigs, horses, donkeys and goats.20 There very large number of people. The living employed differ-
were many reasons for people being transformed into vam- ent and numerous methods to protect themselves from the
pires after their death, apart from being attacked by an- revenants. Some of these were precautionary and were sup-
other vampire. For some people it was assumed that they posed to prevent the deceased from becoming a vampire.
would become vampires while they were still alive.This ap- Before the funeral, no animal was allowed to leap or fly
plied primarily to criminals, wicked people, perjurers, peo- over the deceased, and all of the mirrors in the house had
ple who differed from others physically or in their behav- to be covered so that the deceased could not see his reflec-
iour, those who were in contact with magic and unusual tion. Evil people thought likely to become vampires had to
activities, and people who were considered to be wizards have their skin pierced with a needle, a thorn, a knife or a
or witches i.e. those who caused discomfort in their com- sting. Their ankle tendons were cut so that they could not
munity because of their way of life. Also suspicious were walk if they were transformed.22 On the way to the cem-
people who were born on certain days or at a certain time etery, the body of the deceased was brought over running
of the year, new-borns born in the amniotic sac, members water or over a crossroads. Other measures were carried
of certain professions such as blacksmiths, lumberjacks or out during the funeral. Suspicious deceased were laid in the
shepherds, in other words all those who in some way de- grave in a prone position or burdened with large stones,
viated from society (troublemakers, blasphemers, envious with a sharp iron object by their side (a sickle, a knife or a
needle), as well as a padlock and key, and a coin, nail, rock,

18 Benyovsky 1996, 119; Đordjević 1953, 150; Pasarić 2014, 216.


19 Benyovsky 1996. 21 Križanec-Beganović 2015, 47; Lecouteux 2013, 32–33, 55–56;
20 Barber 1988, 41–42; Rajković Iveta and Iveta 2017, 51, 69–70; Schneeweis 2005, 39; Šešo 2016, 45–48; Unger 2006, 164.
Šešo 2016, 48–50. 22 Šešo 2016, 54.

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The reflection of folk beliefs in burial customs in the Early Modern period in northern Croatia

or with a brick placed in their


mouth.23
Sometimes, despite all the
preventive measures taken, some
deceased were thought to rise
from the grave and attack peo- Fig. 5 Crkvari. Knife from grave 376.
ple. In that case it was neces-
sary to find and dig out the
grave and run a hawthorn stick
through the vampire’s chest.
This was usually done late in the
evening or early in the morn-
ing, before the revenant could
leave or return to the grave.
Occasionally, the ceremony was
attended by local priests.24 In
addition to the piercing of the
heart with a hawthorn stick, the
alleged vampire could be de-
stroyed by severing his head and
laying it between his legs. If this
procedure did not prevent its
reappearance, the body of the
deceased would be burnt on a
pyre.25 Fig. 6 Crkvari. Padlock from grave 376.
As we can see, ethnological
sources and literature provide
a lot of information on folk beliefs in revenants and de- is now sought for. Leszek Gardeła offered a number of
fensive procedures against them. Some of these procedures different explanations for the Early Medieval prone burials
have been archaeologically confirmed in the form of unu- from Poland: prone burials were the result of the wishes of
sual/prone burials. This does not mean, of course, that all the deceased who wanted to address the community; they
such burials can be seen as a result of the fear of revenants, are connected to the widespread belief in the so-called
but so far, Croatian ethnological literature has not offered evil eye, a malevolent gaze of the dying or the dead which
any other possible explanations. could bring misfortune or even death; they reflected fear of
something coming out of the body or entering the body
through various orifices; they could be careless and hasty
4. Discussion and conclusion burials, for example during some epidemic; they could be a
way of condemning the deceased and perhaps members of
One of the most common interpretations of the prone their families as well; they might be intended for foreigners
burials is that the deceased were believed to become “rev- and people who did not belong to the community which
enants” or vampires after death, that is, that they would buried them; it is possible that they were buried alive.27 Al-
return and terrorize the living and perhaps cause further though he brings numerous possible interpretations, Gar-
death in the community. This interpretation derives from deła thinks that most prone burials in early medieval Po-
historical and ethnographic sources dating to the Modern land were those of criminals, and that the act of burying
period26 but was quickly accepted by archaeologists and ap- them face down was intended to display contempt and dis-
plied to all historic periods. Afterwards, in the second half respect during the funeral.28 The interpretation of prone
of the 20th century, it was applied uncritically to all types of burials as the burials of executed criminals and those who
unusual burials. Recently, however, it has quite often been committed suicide or of those carelessly buried without pi-
disputed. The question of the methodological correctness ety and necessary rites is especially related to the Late Me-
of using Modern period sources for the interpretation of dieval and Early Modern burials found in places of public
Early Medieval cases has arisen, i.e. a more critical rela- executions.29 However, with such interpretations we should
tion and a separate consideration of each individual burial also take into account the fact that the evil men, murderers
and those who committed suicide or died violent deaths

23 Lecouteux 2013, 99–100; Rajković Iveta and Iveta 2017, 75;


Unger 2006, 164–166.
24 Šešo 2016, 56. 27 Gardeła 2015b, 109–110.
25 Barber 1988, 8–9; Lecouteux 2013, 101. 28 Gardeła 2017, 111.
26 Barber 1988. 29 Duma 2015, 227; Duma 2019; Gardeła 2015a, 116.

183
Siniša Krznar

were thought of as possible future vampires,30 and that the northern foundation of the apse (the foundation is not pre-
places of execution were considered to be liminal and very served). The distance of these burials from the edge of the
numinous places in which one might encounter the su- cemetery is unknown, as the whole cemetery has not been
pernatural.31 In such cases therefore, one should not com- excavated, but is in any case certainly further than their dis-
pletely exclude the influence of the fear of revenants on tance from the church. The reason for this kind of spatial
the method of burial. Some cases of unusual burials are re- distribution is not yet known, but it may be due to the dif-
lated to severe diseases people suffered from during their ferent reasons for burying these bodies in prone position.
lives and which made them appear different from other We should leave room for their different interpretation.
members of the community. They were therefore consid- Since all prone burials from Croatia have been found
ered dangerous and it was believed that after their death on regular parish cemeteries and without visible traces of
they could become revenants.32 execution, we can reject the idea of the deceased being
As we can see, almost all interpretations have a nega- executed criminals. Furthermore, nothing points to these
tive connotation. However, in rare cases, prone burials do being careless and hasty burials. As anthropological analy-
not have such meaning, as can be seen by the case of Pepin sis did not establish any serious pathology that would dis-
The Short, who was buried face down to rid himself of tinguish the deceased from the rest of the community, this
the sins of his father Charles Martel, or from the burial could not have been the cause of their different and irregu-
of certain monks in Guebwiller, Glastonbury and Ship- lar burial. It is also unlikely that these were persons of deep
ton-under-Wychwood, where such a burial could be a sign faith who in this way wanted to express their humility and
of contrition and deep religiosity, serving a purpose to do repent for their sins. Such people would probably get a bet-
with repentance.33 ter burial position and would not have been buried on the
Some prone burials were located in marginal sections northern side of the church, which is perceived as the neg-
of cemeteries. Burying people at the borders of cemeter- ative side.35 One would probably find devotional objects in
ies might be an attempt to spatially separate them from the their graves as well. Based on the lack of data which would
rest of the dead.34 The situation with graves from north- support different interpretations and on, widespread at that
ern Croatia, however, is somewhat different. As we have al- time, the belief in revenants, we can assume that the reasons
ready mentioned, in Crkvari a prone burial is directly be- for the unusual burial of these four people come from the
side the southern wall of the apse, while at the cemetery in world of folk superstition and fear of the dead. The items
Torčec both graves are located north of the church. Grave found in the tomb in Crkvari confirm these presumptions.
83 is located 3  m north of the foundation trench of the Since neither the knife nor the padlock belong to everyday
church, and grave 224 is 1  m east of the church’s shoul- women’s costume we can assume that they have some sym-
der and about 1  m north of the assumed position of the bolic, probably apotropaic role in protecting the deceased
from the devil or that they were meant to protect the living
members of the community from the negative effects of
30 Barber 1988.
31 Gardeła 2015a, 116. the dead, i.e. from their return among the living.
32 Molleson 1999; Sledzik and Bellantioni 1994.
33 Hadley 2010, 106; Lecouteux 2013, 100.
34 Gardeła 2017, 93. 35 Ritoók 1997, 176.

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Überlegungen zu Hinweisen auf Elemente von Volksglauben in Bestattungsbräuchen in der


frühen Neuzeit im Norden Kroatiens

In der frühen Neuzeit war die Bevölkerung im Norden Unter anderem war die Bauchlage des Verstorbenen eine
Kroatiens größtenteils römisch-katholisch. So wurden die Möglichkeit, um zu verhindern, dass die Toten aus ihren
verstorbenen Mitglieder der Gemeinschaft auf Friedhöfen Gräbern zurückkehren und die Lebenden bedrohen oder
innerhalb und außerhalb der Kirche begraben. Ein typi- verletzen. Im letzten Jahrzehnt gab es verschiedene Erklä-
scher Bestattungsritus war die Bestattung in Rückenlage rungen für solche Bestattungen. Laut historischer und eth-
mit gestreckten Beinen in West-Ost-Orientierung. Die nologischer Literatur ist es jedoch offensichtlich, dass in der
Gräber enthalten normalerweise keine Grabausstattung, frühen Neuzeit der Volksglaube an Wiedergänger (Vam-
aber manchmal enthalten sie Kleidungsteile, Schmuck und pire) wächst. In diesem Beitrag werde ich versuchen, die
persönliche Andachtsgegenstände, wie Rosenkränze, kleine Bestattungen in Bauchlage an archäologischen Fundorten
Medaillen und Kreuze. In einigen Fällen gab es jedoch im Norden Kroatiens zu interpretieren und festzustellen,
Ausnahmen und es gibt sogenannte abweichende oder un- ob sie mit dem wachsenden Volksglauben an Untote in
gewöhnliche Bestattungen. Bei archäologischen Unter- Verbindung stehen können.
suchungen wurden an den Fundorten Torčec-Cirkvišče,
Crkvari und Nova Rača insgesamt vier Skelette in Bauch- Schlagworte: Bestattungsritus, Bauchlage, Volksglaube,Wieder­
lage gefunden. Solche Sonderbestattungen wurden bis vor gänger, Angst vor den Toten
kurzem als Folge der Angst vor den Toten interpretiert.

Dr. Siniša Krznar


Institute of Archaeology
Ljudevita Gaja 32
10 000 Zagreb
Croatia
skrznar@iarh.hr

186