December 31, 2012

Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival XXIV

Pretty sleepy in the world of Roman bioarch this December.  Let's see what we have (some of which was from the end of November, oops!)...

Finds and Excavations

  • 26 November.  The Museum of London's excavation is now complete at the 8-10 Moorgate site.  Portions of the Roman-era (1st-3rd c AD) town were uncovered, along with at least one human burial.  No pictures, sadly.
  • 30 November.  Workmen installing a spa in a house in Teesdale (England) found Roman coins, pottery, glass, and a roof tile with a handprint on it dating roughly to the 2nd century AD.  No bones, it seems, but I do love finds of Roman hand- and footprints. Again, sadly, no pictures.
  • 24 December.  Although this isn't totally Roman-era, I was interested to learn that a portion of Phillip II's skeleton would be studied further.  Phillip of Macedon was the father of Alexander the Great, and Greek archaeologists think that the remains they found at Vergina are indeed his.
  • 24 December.  Large-scale excavations under London are also revealing the city's Roman past, among other eras.  So far, archaeologists have found "hundreds of skeletons," although there's no indication what time period they date to.
A few of the "hundreds of skeletons" found recently under London. (Photo via BBC.)

Articles and Reviews
  • 28 November. Bos et al. in PLoS One - Yersinia pestis: New Evidence for an Old Infection.  There's been a rash of articles about the Black Death lately, but this one is noteworthy because the authors attempt to pinpoint divergence dates for various strains of Y. pestis.  One happens to coincide with the dates of the so-called Plague of Justinian in Late Antiquity (6th-8th centuries AD).
Exhibits
  • 23 December.  The "bambino di Fidene" (a 2nd century AD Italian child whose skull has evidence of a trepanation) gets a nice write-up in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.  This individual is being exhibited as part of a new(ish) exhibit at the Museum of the History of Medicine in Rome.  The news piece is almost an osteobiography, taking the reader through the possible reasons the child was trepanned and the palliative care for the child who had to undergo such a traumatic procedure.
Odds and Ends
  • And finally, a cute little Roman bronze skeleton dating to the 1st century AD, part of the collection of the Getty in Malibu:

That concludes your Roman bioarchaeology news for 2012.  Join me here each month next year for more!

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