Scientific study of “headless” gladiators

Discovery News reports here on a new study about the “headless” gladiators found in a cemetery at York, England, a few years ago.

Britain’s enigmatic “headless Romans” lost their heads far away from home, according to a multi-isotopic analysis of the 1,800-year-old skeletal remains.

Unearthed between 2004 and 2005 in a cemetery in York, England, the remains belong to 80 individuals, almost all males, who died violently at ages ranging between 19 and 45.

At least 46 of them had been carefully decapitated, with their heads placed by or between their legs or pelvis.

Believed by some to be gladiators, losing their heads after their last fight, the heavily built men were buried in one of the most prestigious cemeteries of York during the 2nd and 3rd century A.D.

A new scientific “multi-isotopic analysis of the skeletal remains” has shown that many of the men were from other parts of Britain and the Roman Empire. It is a fascinating technical study.

Gladiator at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Gladiator at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Science Channel web site has a nice video in which Dr. Karl Großschmidt, Medical University of Vienna, discusses the discovery at Ephesus of skeletons belonging to 70 gladiators. Click here to view the video and a second one discussing the weapons used by the gladiators.  Großschmidt thinks that most of the men died in combat before the age of 35.

HT: David Padfield

In a post to follow I will discuss Paul’s use of the gladiator in one of his epistles.

A report today says that Pompeii’s house of gladiators collapsed Saturday morning. Check CNN.

One response to “Scientific study of “headless” gladiators

  1. Pingback: via Ferrell’s: “Scientific study of “headless” gladiator” « austinjalexander:blog

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