THE HAUNTING mystery of Britain’s headless Romans may have been solved at last, thanks to scars from a lion’s bite and hammer marks on decapitated skulls.
The results of forensic work, announced today, on more than 80 skeletons of well-built young men, gradually exhumed from the gardens of a York terrace over a decade, suggest that the world’s best-preserved gladiator graveyard has been found.
Many of the 1,800-year-old remains indicate much stronger muscles in the right arm, a condition noted by Roman writers in slaves trained from their teens to fight in the arena. Advanced mineral testing of tooth enamel also links the men to a wide variety of Roman provinces, including North Africa, which was another feature of gladiator recruitment.
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