Archaeology Magazine

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London Collection of Skulls Shows Signs of Violence

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Roman Skull HuntersLONDON, ENGLANDA reexamination of 39 skulls discovered 25 years ago near the London Wall has shown that the dead were most likely all victims of violence, even decapitation. “The level of violence here exceeds the level needed to kill someone,” said Rebecca Redfern of the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London. The heads had been buried in a pit sometime between A.D. 120 and 160 and may have been collected by Roman headhunters who captured and killed Scottish barbarians. The heads may even have belonged to failed gladiators, but so far, no conclusive evidence of gladiatorial combat has ever been found in London.