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The Source:

Lothar F. Zotz :
"Erlebte Vorgeschichte - Wie ich in Deutschland ausgrub" [1934]

The Case:

A team of Archaeologists were doing research in the old Germanic cemetery of Groß-Sürding. They found various graves where the skuls of the dead obviously had been seperated from the body and had been placed in unusual positions. Some of the skeletons had been buried facing downwards. Some of them had been cut into pieces and rearranged in a strange way. In some cases evidence was found that the legs of the dead had been bound together with leather belts.

Our reporter, archaeologist Lothar F. Zotz, seems convinced that all these unusual measures may have been taken to prevent the return of the dead. And although I am aware of the fact that it can be both tempting and dangerous to try to interpret archaeological evidence, I am happy to agree.

I would like to quote the finishing words of Mr. Zotz :

"Aberglauben ! Er glimmt wie unverlöschliches Feuer im Bewustsein der Volksseele, jeden Augenblick bereit, als Flamme hervorzubrechen, Hexen zu verbrennen und gegen Tote zu kämpfen. Ein Stück Urzeit in uns ! Ob es der Geist je besiegen wird ?"

A valid question.

The Date:

No date is given. But for obvious reasons the archaeological excavations must have taken place some time before 1934 when the book was published. According to Mr. Zotz the cemetery must have been some 1500 years old at the time. He thinks that it dates back to the 4th and 5th Century. And who am I to argue with that ?

The Place:

Why should things be simple if they can be complicated ? "Groß-Sürding" is now called "Zerniki Wielki" and can be found in the South-West of Poland, South of "Breslau" which is now called "Wroclaw".

Personal Comments:

I have often found that people can get confused about locations. Over the years the country borders of Europe have gone through an awful lot of changes. So do not be surprised if an old book mentions a case that has taken place in let's say Germany, and you find that it is now located in Poland or Estonia. If you find information about a case of vampirism, you should always consider the situation at that particular time.

Another thing to consider is the fact that place names may not be the same in different languages. If I find the time I may create a special page touching on this subject.

As far as I know - but who am I ? - the ancient Germans appear to have cremated their dead rather than bury them. It would seem that it is only after the Christian Church moved in that they started burying the dead. Therfore, it might be interesting to try and find out when Christianity reached this particular region and had sufficient influence to change people's customs. Supposing that the dating of the cemetery is correct, and supposing that the old Germans still had not been Christianized, and supposing that they were still in the habit of cremating their dead, this cemetery would indeed be something very special.

Possible Follow-Up:

You could start by finding and reading the article by Lothar F. Zotz. Undoubtedly there must be further reports about the archaeological research in the cemetery of Groß-Sürding. As I have seen some of them, I know for a fact that photos of the mutilated skeletons have been taken. There is also mention that one of those manipulated skeletons was brought as a whole to a museum in Breslau, where - apparently - it was put on display. There must be plenty of things to find. So what are you waiting for ?

© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 21 December 2009
Obviously all the rights to the images are the property of their rightful owners

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