In a 17th-century Polish cemetery, the skeletal remains of what may have been a female “vampire” were discovered. A sickle had been placed across the woman’s neck to prevent her from rising from the dead.

According to the Daily Mail, Professor Dariusz Poliski from Nicolaus Copernicus University oversaw the archaeological investigation that resulted in the discovery of the skeleton.

“The sickle was not laid flat but was placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up, most likely the head would have been cut off or injured,” Poliski said

According to a news release, the remains were found in the Polish town of Pie, close to Ostromecko, and seem to be those of a young woman buried in the 17th century. She might have been from a higher socioeconomic class if there were signs of a silk cap on her head.

“Such a discovery, especially here in Poland, is astonishing, especially now — centuries later,” Poliski said to CBS. “Pure amazement.”

Her left foot’s big toe had a triangle padlock around it, a sign that those who buried her feared she might resurrect from the dead, perhaps because they believed she was a vampire.

Scientists are doing more research on the remains found in August. According to CBS, scientists from the University of Krakow’s Institute of Archaeology will analyze the skeleton’s DNA to learn more about the woman.

According to Matteo Borrini, head lecturer of forensic anthropology at Liverpool John Moore University, “vampire” graves were common throughout Christian Europe from the 14th century to the 17th century.

According to him, “vampire” outbreaks frequently coincided with periods when a pandemic or widespread poisoning caused many deaths for reasons science could not account for.

These ‘vampires’ begin by stalking and killing family members before moving on to neighbors and then the rest of the villagers. This is the typical pattern of an infectious illness,” he stated.

Through thorough scientific study, Borrini proved that the remains of a woman who died in Venice in the 16th century were those of a “vampire” burial place.

The corpses were discovered in a mass grave that contained plague victims. A stone has been skillfully inserted into the mouth of this body.

He said that at the time, people were thought capable of becoming Nachzehrers—vampires who emerged from the dead to bite the living and spread the illness.

People began to believe that vampires were emerging from the grave and suffocating people at night as the lore developed. According to Borrini, this may be a method to explain the chest agony brought on by tuberculosis, which at the time was the primary killer in Europe.

In Victorian times, vampires were said to bite the neck and suck the blood, a trope used in books at the time as a “sort of metaphor of sex,” said Borrini.

For Borrini to be sure that this was the burial of a person thought to be a vampire, more investigation is required.

He claimed that not all of the superstitions associated with death in the European period involved vampires. Bodies have been discovered fastened to the ground, with stones weighing them down, trapped within their final resting place, or with rose thorns on their graves.

He claimed these techniques to prevent the body from rising had nothing to do with vampires.

The sickle could signify a completely different thing. For instance, a 2015 study of human remains in Poland interred with sickles around various body parts examined cases in which historians hypothesized that the agricultural implements would have served as a social status symbol.

According to Borrini, bodies deemed at risk of being vampires have been discovered with their hearts pierced, beheaded, burned, or with stones in their mouths.

Without directly referring to vampires, he remarked, “The fact that the feet were locked in the graves is something well known for all the situations in which we feared that the person was coming back.”