In 1740 the Archbishop of Trani, Giuseppe Davanzati, wrote his "Treatise on Vampires", a famous script in which an important man of the church analyzes in depth the phenomenon of vampirism and all the mysterious legends, that have always been told about 
these nocturnal creatures.

It’s still do not clrear why the archbishop of Puglia has decided to engage in the study of a subject so obscure, examining it in its deeper meanings. His work is still one of the most comprehensive on the vampirism in all its forms and digression.

In 2000, about three centuries after the publication of Davanzati opera, a group of Italian archaeologists and researchers, committed to dig in Trani, in Capo Colonna, near the imposing monastery, made a startling discovery: the remains of unusual burials , which seemed attributable to vampires.

Already in the seventies, this area had been carried out and excavations had unearthed remains of Mycenaean and Hellenic. Despite all this, what were the results of the research and what has been extracted from the earth we can not know, because the testimony related to the work seems to have vanished.

The most recent excavations, 
conducted by Dr. Ada Ricciardi, have revealed new structures and environments with a paved courtyard.

The archaeologists whom led excavations in 2001, had long silenced his findings.
Only in March 2002, what was found has become in the public domain.
But why the delay?
In addition to the usual bureaucratic issues, it is clear that what the territory of Trani has revealed to the eyes of researchers is really something to the “Twilight Zone”.

Archaeologists have found the walls of the building, arranged in a manner quite unusual: the exterior walls are made of slabs vertically planted into the ground. 
Construction technique, this, never attested in ancient Peucetia and even in nearby Daunia.
They have also been finding pottery shards decorated with bizarre images, among which stands the figure of a biped with a large crest and a long tail of the reptile.

It seems that the whole structure dates from the late ninth or early eighth century before Christ.

Studies done on the building and the recovered materials have led archaeologists and anthropologists to think that the place was used in ceremonies and rituals, since the orientation of the building to the east, where the sun rises.

But the most shocking discovery was made with a series of unusual graves. Three graves, two inside and one outside the building, which remain even today a mystery.
What we know for certain is that the burial was found outside a man in a kneeling position, with over a slab of stone, as to prevent him from getting up. The two tombs are also within a stone slab, placed on three men lying on their backs.

According to anthropologists the subject's age buried outside is about 40 years while, as regards the three buried inside, they seems to be two adult men between twenty and forty years and a boy about 15 years .
Inside the tomb were not found ornaments of any kind, or furnishings, or funerals, so the researchers believe that these men were excluded from society.

Really unusual is the fact that the bodies were buried and not thrown unburied elsewhere, as was the custom in those days for the outcasts.
Moreover, the presence of a stone on the back of all four the men, the fact that they were buried underground and above every grave was placed another large slab of stone let us hypothesize that the intent of such a burial would be that the four men won’t return in life, that they does not come out from their graves.

The first hypothesis emerged has been about vampirism, but according to the researchers, we must not think of the horror movies, rather than to people suffering from diseases that often occur with the blood, such as photophobia, porphyria or tuberculosis. Diseases unknown to the ancients.
For this reason, whoever was struck was often regarded with suspicion and considered an outcast, a monster, just like vampires.

The burial of Trani is something unique in Italy, but find, comparison in some archaeological discoveries in northern Greece, where, say anthropologists, funeral rites of this kind have been handed down from the Neolithic to the present days.
It's worth a trip in Puglia, in search of ancient tombs and mysterious vampires.

Typical bun of Puglia

250 g flour "00"
250 g durum wheat semolina
150 g boiled potatoes
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cube of yeast
1 heaped teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
300 ml of lukewarm water
20 cherry tomatoes
20 olives in brine

Mix the two flours in a bowl.
Add the mashed potatoes, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, yeast dissolved in 100 ml of warm water, salt and sugar.
Continue adding the remaining water a little at a time, until the dough will be soft.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of oil in a baking tin 30 cm x 40 cm.
Place the mixture in the baking tin, and spread on it the remaining tablespoon of oil, crushing the bun with your hands.
Garnish the bun with halved cherry tomatoes, olives, oregano and salt.
Cover the baking tin with aluminum foil, wrap it in a cloth so as to preserve the warmth of the ground and let the cake to rise in a warm place for at least an hour.
Bake at 200 ° C for 25-30 minutes.
The Apulian focaccia can be served hot or cold, even stuffed with ham, mortadella or something other.

1 comment:

Mike said...

WOW! Indeed, great experience. Lovely photos and mouth watering dishes. I got water in mouth after seeing your post. I can't wait more for eating this. yummy...
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