October 6, 2011

Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival V

Welcome back!  Not a lot of Roman bioarch news this week, so I'm stretching my definition a bit to include the stories below.

Excavations and Finds

    Two cappuccina burials found in Rome
    (credit: ArcheoRivista)
  • September 26 - A picture and description of two cappuccina graves were posted at ArcheoRivista, although the graves were actually discovered in April.  One had been mostly destroyed by tombaroli, but the other is basically intact (see picture).  Archaeologists think these were lower-class individuals (as judged by the burial style) and seem to have been found along the Via Valeria.  Tombs a cappuccina were quite common in the Imperial period in Rome, and many of the skeletons I studied for my dissertation were from simple cemeteries with these interesting tile-covered burials.  Many people aren't aware of the ubiquity of cappuccina tombs, as scholars such as Jocelyn Toynbee give very little space in their books to descriptions of low status burials, preferring to discuss above-ground mausolea and below-ground hypogea.  Cappuccina comes from the Italian for "cowl," and Toynbee (1971:102-3) just notes that "the simplest method was to lay the body in the earth, but to cover it with pairs of flat tegulae set gable-wise and generally with imbrices (curved and hollow roofing tiles) along the ridge."
New Coverage and Interpretations
Published Articles
  • October 3 - Pollard and colleagues have an article in AJPA early view on C4 resource use (millet consumption) in a man from Roman Britain.  I summarize the article and add my own findings on C4 use in Rome in my post on "The Millet-Eaters of the Roman Empire."
Meet me back here in two weeks, and I should have some more news from the world of Roman bioarchaeology.

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