In a story that has gotten surprisingly little international press, on October 5th researchers at the archaeological superintendency of Emilia-Romagna announced the discovery of a necropolis dating to the 1st century BC to 1st century AD along the ancient Roman via Emilia outside Modena (ancient Mutina). Discovered during excavations for a car park, the necropolis held mostly cremation burials. Three young males who weren't cremated, however, are the real news.
|The three mudered Roman-era men (credit: Gazzetta di Modena)|
Under the dictatorship of Sulla, decapitation was a popular form of proscribed death. But Sulla generally wanted the heads as trophies. Since the heads of the murdered men from Mutina were present in the graves, the archaeologists suggest this was not a government-sanctioned killing. Rather, the director of the excavation, Donato Labate, told La Repubblica that they may have been slaves killed by their master, possibly as a lesson to other slaves (and the inclusion of bricks may have been to prevent them from re-emerging, he suggests, trying to jump on the recent witches/prostitutes/zombies bandwagon).
|Close-up of a murdered Roman-era man (credit: Gazzetta di Modena)|