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‘Vampire’ skeleton with stake driven through heart discovered in ruins of ancient city

A Bulgarian archaeologist made the grisly discovery of a man in his 40s or 50s with a metal stake hammered into his chest

A ‘vampire grave’ containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been discovered by a man known as ‘Bulgaria’s Indiana Jones’.

The grisly find – believed to be a man who died in the 13th Century – is said to be the result of an ‘anti-vampire ritual’.

In Medieval times metal would be driven through the corpse to stop a bad person rising from the dead and terrorising the living, according to the archaeologist who unearthed the skeleton.

Professor Nikolai Ovcharov, a travelling archaeologist who has dedicated his life to shedding light on ancient civilisations, made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient city located in southern Bulgaria, the Telegraph reports.

Find: The skeleton has an iron rod impaled where the heart would have been ( Image: Rex)

The city was only discovered 20 years ago, but it is thought to have been inhabited since 5,000BC.

It is believed to be the site of the Temple of Dionysius – the Greek God of wine and fertility – and finds have included a fortress, a sanctuary… and a number of ‘vampire graves’.

Professor Ovcharov said: “We have no doubts that once again we’re seeing an anti-vampire ritual being carried out.

“Often they were applied to people who died in unusual circumstances – such as suicide.”

Grisly: It is believed the man succumbed to an ‘anti-vampire ritual ( Image: Rex)

The skeleton of the man, thought to be between 40 and 50, had a piece of iron rod used in a plough known as a ploughshare hammered through its chest.

The left leg below the knee had also been removed and left beside the body.

In 2012 and 2013 two similar graves were discovered in the Bulgarian town of Sozopol, where the bodies were nicknamed the ‘twin vampires of Sozopol’.

It is thought about 100 such skeletons have been discovered.