Posted by: aiawinnipeg | November 1, 2012


November 25, Sunday, 3pm in room 237 University College


An Afternoon of Vampires past and present

Bela Lugosi, Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi (at left) may be the quintessential vampire. But fear of – and fascination with – vampires can be traced far earlier than this 1931 movie.

In June 2012, there was extensive media coverage of excavations at Sozopol, Bulgaria, of two medieval skeletons identified as vampires on account of the iron stakes used to pin the body into the burial (lest it return to bite unsuspecting necks!). Here is a video of those excavations.

The University of Manitoba is fortunate to have critical mass of scholars with a deep interest in vampires, past and present. So, November 25 the AIA (Winnipeg Society) and the Classical Association of Manitoba are hosting three speakers devoted to vampires.

David Annandale (University of Manitoba, English, Film and Theater)

David Annandale, a critically acclaimed writer of thrillers, science fiction and horror novels as well as a faculty member of the department of English, Film and Theater, will introduce the afternoon’s topic from a modern perspective.

David is the University’s resident expert on scary things, especially scary things that bite (see this article on the CBC website). He has graciously agreed to set the stage for our two lectures on ancient vampires.

Matt Maher (University of Winnipeg, Department of Classics)

Chasing Lesvian Vampires: Modern Greek Folklore and the Archaeological Pursuit of the Vrykolaka

In Greece, the traditional belief in the vampire (vrykolaka) is long-standing, considerably widespread, and is well attested at least until the end of the 20th century. In this lecture, Matt Maher explores the perceived causes of vampirism, the behavior ascribed to the Greek vrykolaka, as well as the role religion has played in propagating this conviction, in order to better understand how this belief, and more importantly the fear it generates, is manifested in the archaeological record. After exploring archaeological examples of suspected vampires in cases reported from Greece, it is demonstrated that from a bioarchaeological standpoint, the belief in vampires can perhaps be explained by a number of more ‘rational’ and scientific reasons.

Amy Scott, University of Manitoba, Anthropology Department

The Rising of the Undead: An Examination of Vampire Folklore and Archaeological Evidence in Medieval and Post-Medieval Poland

Amy Scott is the field osteologist for the Slavia Foundation Mortuary Archaeology Field School Program in Drawsko, Poland. Working at the Drawsko site for over three years, she has been a primary investigator of the unique vampire burials recovered at the site and their association with Polish and Slavic folklore. In addition to this unique academic research, Amy is also an instructor with the field school program, teaching undergraduate and graduate students proper excavation techniques and laboratory protocols for working with human remains.

Amy is currently teaching a Human Osteology course, and she is an active member of the University of Manitoba Anthropology Students’ Association and the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology.

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