In a Roman Tomb, ‘Dead Nails’ Reveal an Occult Practice
Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient practice that was believed to ensure eternal life in a tomb in Modena, Italy. The tomb contains the remains of a woman who lived nearly 2,000 years ago. The discovery of small nails through her mouth has intrigued scholars and sparked debates about its significance in ancient Roman culture.
The archaeological discovery was made in the spring of 2021 at the Vignola archaeological site, near Modena, located in the region of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy. The tomb contained the remains of a middle-aged woman whose remains were preserved over time. However, the most intriguing discovery was the placement of small nails through her jaws, which archaeologists believe to have been carefully placed on purpose.
The practice of placing nails through a person’s body after death was not unusual in ancient times. However, what makes this particular discovery unique is the fact that the nails were inserted post-mortem, which suggests that it had religious, rather than practical, purposes. The practice of placing nails through the jaws, nose, or eyelids of the deceased was believed to prevent the body from returning to life, and thus guaranteeing eternal rest.
The use of “dead nails” as they were called, was heavily rooted in ancient magical beliefs, which were often associated with occult practices. It was believed that the nails would help prevent the body from being possessed by evil spirits or becoming a vessel for the dead to return to the world of the living. It was believed that these spirits would use the orifices of the body to enter and possess it. Therefore, this practice was seen as a way to prevent possession.
This belief in afterlife and the need to protect the dead was a prevalent practice across many ancient cultures. However, the practice became more prevalent during the Roman period, especially amongst the lower classes. Archaeologists believe that the tomb belongs to a commoner or someone from a humble background, based on the simplicity of the burial and the probable use of a wooden coffin.
While the practice of placing nails through the body was common, the use of the jaw as an entry point was rare. The discovery of the nails in the tomb has led scholars to hypothesize about the significance of the jaw as an entry point for the nails. Some have posited arguments that the jaw was associated with speech, which was seen as a powerful tool to express oneself. Therefore, by placing nails through the jaw, the deceased would be silenced, and that would help prevent them from becoming restless spirits.
Others have theorized that the practice of placing nails through the jaw had a symbolic association with the underworld. In ancient Rome, the underworld was often associated with the god Pluto, who was depicted as a horned god. As such, the horn-like appearance of the nails may have had a symbolic relationship with the god of the underworld. Therefore, the placement of the nails may have been an attempt by the living to appease Pluto.
The discovery of the nails has provided a new insight into the burial practices of ancient Romans. The fact that this practice took place in a relatively small town like Modena shows that it was part and parcel of the everyday lives of the common people. Moreover, it also shows the heavy influence of magical and religious beliefs in the funerary practices of the ancient Romans.
The practice of placing nails through the body may seem bizarre to us in the present day. However, it was integral to the spiritual beliefs of ancient peoples, which often got intertwined with their everyday lives. The presence of the nails in the tomb signifies the cultural importance of magic and religion, which were often associated with the occult.
In conclusion, the discovery of the nails through the jaw in the Modena tomb provides a glimpse into the occult practices of the ancient Romans. The practice of placing nails through the body was seen as a way to protect the dead from evil spirits and restless souls. While the exact motivations for the placement of the nails remain a mystery, the discovery has opened up new avenues for understanding the magical and religious beliefs of the ancient world.