Roman-era tomb scattered with magical ‘dead nails’ and sealed off to shield the living from the ‘restless dead’ –

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

The unusual grave, found at the site of Sagalassos (opens in new tab) in southwestern Turkey and dating to A.D. 100-150, had 41 bent and twisted nails scattered 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 place, an unusual practice in Roman times, according to the study, published Feb. 21 in the journal Antiquity (opens in new tab).

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