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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Gladiator Heads? Mystery of Trove of British Skulls Solved
A trove of skulls and other body parts unearthed in the heart of London may have once belonged to Roman gladiators, war captives or criminals, a new study suggests.
The remains, described in the January issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, belonged to about 40 men, mostly ages 25 to 35, and were marred by violence: cheek fractures, blunt-force trauma to the head, decapitation and injuries from sharp weapons, said study co-author Rebecca Redfern, a curator and bioarchaeologist at the Museum of London. [In Images: Skulls of the Gladiators and War Captives]
Great Britain's ancient cities are littered with archaeological treasures, many of which are often dug up accidentally prior to construction. For instance, in 2013, the burial site of King Richard III was found under a parking lot in Leicester, England, and in April 2013, a medieval knight's tomb was uncovered under a Scottish parking lot.