Two early medieval skeletons were unearthed recently in Ireland with large stones wedged into their mouths -- evidence, archaeologists say, that it was feared the individuals would rise from their graves like zombies.
Although before we arrive at the zombies, vampires were considered (of course):
Initially, Read and colleagues thought they had found a Black Death-related burial ground. Remains of individuals buried at the end of the Middle Ages with stones stuck in their mouths have hinted at vampire-slaying rituals.
It was believed that these "vampire" individuals spread the plague by chewing on their shrouds after dying. In a time before germ theory, the stone in the mouth was then used as a disease-blocking trick.
Since the vampire phenomenon didn't emerge in European folklore until the 1500's, the archaeologists ruled out this theory for the 8th century skeletons.
To be fair here, as wacky as this bit might sound, the journalist does actually mention the proper word for it, revenants. But zombies and vampires? It's a perfect combination for a sensationalist article.
Except, of course...
In spite of the excitedly breathless opening paragraph, the archaeologists in question at no point during the course of the article ever mention the word 'zombie.' But of course, everybody loves zombies these days, so why not, if it gets people reading the article? The zombie word implies the eighth century Irish were concerned about the living dead rising with a penchant for other people's brains, though, whereas I think what the archaeologists were actually saying is that the dead might rise due to an unholy communion with Satan, or something, with the general intent of terrorising the local population or spreading disease (but not the living dead zombie kind). That's not something that necessarily implies eating other people's brains and turning the whole world into zombies.
But no. Zombies.