different provinces within the Roman Empire, including central and eastern Europe and North Africa.
Another indication of the different cultures represented in the cemetery was the variety of grave goods and the evidence for lavish funeral feasts. By then, the poor gladiator was past caring: several had cranial injuries consistent with a hammer blow to the head, the coup-de-grace delivered to a gladiator who died in the arena.
However, twomysteries remain: where was York’s amphitheatre, and why the decapitation? Roman York was a city of sufficient size and status to have had an amphitheatre, but none has yet been found; it might have been built of timber, in which case its location maywell prove elusive. And nobody is quite sure yet what that placing of the separated heads signifies, though a gladiatorial graveyard at Ephesus in Turkey revealed a similar combination of hammer blows to the skull and decapitation as that found at York.
York Archaeological Trust has launched a website – www.headlessromans.co.uk – presenting all of the evidence behind the various theories, and inviting the public to make up their ownmind, by voting for the theory they believe to be the strongest. Above Gruesome injuries that were all part of
Above Gruesome injuries that were all part of
Web link for further online info: www.headlessromans.co.uk a day’s work: a puncture caused by an animal bite, a sword cut on a mandible, and a vertebra sliced clean through all bear witness to the violent daily lives of gladiators.
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Y o r k
A r c h a e o l o g i c a l T r u s t living in southern Britain during the socalled ‘abandonment period’ when the climate was thought to have been too cold for survival this far north.
Between 500,000 and 12,000 years ago, Britain was occupied and abandoned eight times as climatic conditions fluctuated; hominids were probably here for only about 20 per cent of that time. Until this discovery, it had been thought that Britain was entirely empty of hominid life between 180,000 and 70,000 years ago. Oxford Archaeology Project Manager, David Score, said: ‘The latest dates suggest that some hominids were exploiting the herds of mammoth, rhinoceros, horse and discovery, it had been thought that Britain was entirely empty of hominid life between 180,000 and 70,000 years ago. Oxford Archaeology Project Manager, David Score, said: ‘The latest hominids were exploiting deer grazing in the sub-arctic conditions of Kent’.
Dr Wenban-Smith said that the discovery emphasised the importance of Kent for research into the behavioural strategies of early hominids and Neanderthal migration into north-western Europe. The Channel area then formed part of the nowdrowned landscape of ‘Boulognia’, a land bridge linking northern France and southern Britain between Boulogne and Newhaven.
drowned landscape of ‘Boulognia’, a land bridge linking northern France and southern Britain between Boulogne and Newhaven.
Left Flint artefacts recovered from the ancient land surface.
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A r c h a e o l o g y L t d neWS In bRIef
Stirling Castle knight named CA 235 reported on the violent life and death of Medieval knight whose grave was found under the floor of a chapel at Stirling castle. The knight died in his mid-20s with an arrow wound to the chest, a sword cut that had sliced through his nose and jaw and an axe blow to the side of his head. Further research for BBC Two’s History Cold Case series has now identified the remains as those of Sir John de Stricheley, a senior member of the English garrison defending Stirling Castle during the second War of Scottish Independence. Sir John died on 10 October 1341, probably from wounds inflicted by the Scottish army besieging the castle, led by the future King Robert II.
sword cut that had sliced through
Ivy good for walls, says study Rather than threatening historic buildings, ivy can actually be good for masonry structures, says a new report (www.english-heritage.org. uk/about/news/ivy-can-protect-walls/) carried out by Oxford University and commissioned by English Heritage. The report concluded that walls where ivy was growing were less prone to the damaging effects of frost, pollution and salts than exposed walls without ivy, and that ivy acts as a protective blanket. Among the walls monitored were historic garden walls at Trinity, Pembroke andWorcester Colleges, in Oxford, and the Old City Wall.
Meet hermione, the Girton College mummy The Lawrence Room at Girton College, Cambridge, home to a little-known collection of antiquities, has reopened after refurbishment (open Thursdays, 2pm4pm).Anglo-Saxon finds made during the construction of college buildings in 1881 are on display, along with the mummy of Hermione the Grammatike (‘classics teacher’). William Flinders Petrie (who excavated Hermione during the winter season of 1910−1911 in the Roman cemetery at Hawara, near Fayum in Egypt) described her as unique in that her name and title are painted on her portrait.
| Issue 245
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