In the past, fear of dearly departed loved ones coming back as vampires was very real. There were a number of ways that people dealt with this fear, including burning bodies and burying the dead facedown. Failing that, sometimes a brick was placed in the mouth of the dead. This was considered the foolproof way to ensure that no vampire would be able to suck your blood.
The skull pictured above was found with a brick in its mouth in a mass grave outside Venice, Italy.