Shackled for Eternity


March/April 2015


Archaeologists have recently uncovered a large Gallo-Roman necropolis in southwest France. Located just 800 feet from the Roman amphitheater in Saintes, the cemetery may have been the final resting place for many of the arena’s victims. Several hundred graves dating to the first and second centuries A.D. were found, including many double burials, in which two bodies were interred in one trench, lying head to foot. The archaeologists also excavated at least five individuals—four adults and one child—who were still wearing riveted iron shackles around their wrists, necks, or legs. The graves were almost entirely devoid of artifacts, except for that of a young child who was buried with coins on his or her eyes and seven small vases.