DNA Confirms Headless Roman-Era ‘Gladiator’ Not From Britain – And Maybe Not A Gladiator

headless gladiatorThe “headless Romans” from Eboracum (modern York in England) made a splash when forensic analysis of the graveyard was first announced in 2010. Excavated between 2004-2005, the cemetery contained around 100 individuals, almost all of whom were male. This odd graveyard held more intrigue, though: many of the skeletons were decapitated, showed evidence of puncture wounds from animals, and had lopsided musculature. All of this was suggestive of their employment as gladiators. As the Roman Empire’s northernmost provincial capital, Eboracum flourished around 200 AD. But researchers have long wondered how cosmopolitan this remote outpost was.

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