Roman-era tomb studded with magical “dead nails” and sealed to protect the living from the “troubled dead”.

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

The unusual tomb found at the Sagalassos website (opens in new tab) in south-western Turkey and dated to AD 100-150, had 41 bent and twisted nails scattered around the edges of his pyre, 24 bricks carefully placed on the still-smoldering pyre, and a layer of lime plaster on top . The person – an adult male – was cremated and buried in the same place, an unusual practice in roman timesaccording to the study, published Feb. 21 in the journal antiquity (opens in new tab).

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