Saturday, December 4, 2010

Headless Roman Skeletons Discovered in English Cemetery


80 exotic, beheaded skeletons were recently unearthed in an ancient English cemetery, and according to archaeologists, “the victims lost their heads a long way from home.” Of these 80 skeletons, almost all were male, and the majority were either buried with no head or buried next to their decapitated skull. Archaeologists have now discovered that these ancient burial grounds were used by the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, A.D. According to one U.K. archaeologist, these skeletons are quite different physically from the people of ancient York, then called Eboracum. Using isotope science, the archaeologists were able to discover that, out of eighteen of these skeletons that were tested on, only five were originally from York, and the other thirteen had diets including plants that were not cultivated in England at the time. Several theories have developed as to why these exotic skeletons were in Rome at the time. One study shows that they may have been soldiers of a distant land, slain by Roman soldiers at the garrison in York. Another suggests that they may have been imported gladiators, and tooth marks from a large carnivore on one skeleton may have been from a gladiatorial lion or bear. Whatever the answer may be, it will require further forensic studies and bone analysis, and maybe then the truth of these exotic skeletons will be revealed.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/10/101028-headless-skeletons-ancient-romans-england-exotic-science/

Hunter S Period 7

10 comments:

Lynnie said...

Good Job! I find it interesting how these archaeologist just discovered these headless,male skeletons buried next to their skull. It has you wondering why the Romans buried those 80 man like that.

Taylor McDougall said...

Perhaps they were soldiers from another country, going at war with the people living where they were buried? Since they traveled from far away, they were definitely hostile, so it must have been either war or gladiatorial battles.

zach.b said...

It is very amazing that todays scientists are able to figure out the diets of past peoples through their bones today; the scientists found out that they were foreign to Europe, and when they were found I find it very strange the heads of these skeletons were either buried next to the bodies, or not there at all; I found this very strange. I wonder if we are unaware of some strange burial customs that were used for the fallen gladiators; But only time and many more forensic studies will tell.

Jeremy said...

It's fascinating to see how new discoveries are continously being made, espcially as interesting as finding a burial ground used by the Romans. It is amazing that we are able to tell what the diet of these people was hundreds of years ago, and that they were foreign people. If they were slain soldiers, then it is interesting to think that the Romans beheaded them before burial. The tooth marks found on some of them are also very curious, and show how their culture was very different from ours today. Hopefully through further forensic studies we will be able to learn more about these people, and why they were there.

nicholas said...

A mystery, with many good ideas, but the most likely of these theories would be the gladiatorial theory. This would provide the best explanation because the Romans have long imported slaves from distant lands in order to entertain the masses. Who knows, the missing heads could be the result of losing a battle or insubordination to their masters.

Brandon said...

This is a fascinating topic to read about. It is in an interesting context and also inspires curiosity at the mystery of the death and origins of these skeletons. Their death invokes much interesting speculation. The gladiator and foreign soldier theories are both intriguing. Either way, it is evident that these skeletons were executed for some unknown reason.

Brandon Y.

sarah said...

I thought this post was intersting because of the amount of information the archaeologists were able to derive just from the skeletons. Its amazing to think that people can determine the skeleton's diets and then infer the region of their orgin.

ndahla said...

This was a very interesting topic. I like this topic because it leaves us with so much more to think about. You did a great job at keeping my attention through this post well done.

tyler said...

Very informational, but who killed them and why were they there? Hopefully later technology can answer more questions.

George said...

I, for one find it amazing that even that far away from their homeland, the Romans still extended their influence. No matter how they died, it shows further proof of their existence throughout Europe. Good job!
George Burger, P.8