Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival XV
All your Roman(ish)-skeleton-goings-on from the month of March. I might have to start posting every other week again now that the weather is nice and excavations have picked back up...
Excavations and Finds
Excavations and Finds
|Female skeleton, Roccaforzata|
- 8 March - Around 700 skeletons have been found in Vicenza, Italy, thought to be the remains of soldiers who died during the Napoleonic period.
- 8 March - Excavations and reconstructions at the Gallic village at Acy-Romance (near Rheims, France) suggest sophisticated burial practices and the possibility of human sacrifice.
- 8 March - CT scanning was undertaken on an Iron Age bog body (c. 100 AD) found in England. It revealed the man, who was in his 20s or 30s at death, was almost certainly strangled.
- 10 March - Early Imperial-period skeletal remains (1st-2nd century AD) were found near the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome. ANSA.it has a lot of neat photos, and La Repubblica covers it too.
- 12 March - The skeleton of a woman was found at Roccaforzata, Italy, dating perhaps to the fourth century BC.
|Imperial-period skeleton found in Rome (credit)|
- 14 March - CT scans were also done of five Roman-era burial urns from what used to be Verulamium in England.
- 15 March - At least 60 Roman-period graves have been found in excavations in Ljubljana, Slovenia, attesting to its history as a colony in the 1st-4th centuries AD.
- 15 March - Discovery of the skeleton of a teenage girl with a gold cross suggests she was one of Britain's earliest Christians (dating to roughly 650 AD). The find was covered all over the place, and Rosemary Joyce has an interesting take on the media hype.
|Early Christian burial from England (credit)|
- 18 March - Some Roman remains, including skeletons, were found at Arla (UK), suspected to be the last occupants of the settlement.
- 19 March - Bettina Arnold talks about her decade-long project on Iron Age Germany, including the "beer and bling" necessary to climb the social ladder.
- 24 March - Some ustrina (cremation burials) have come to light in Piacenza, Italy, dating to the 1st century BC. The cremated bones will be analyzed by osteologists, and this report notes that dietary information will be recovered (I guess from incompletely burned bones?). Could be interesting - there aren't as many examples of cremation from the Roman world as there are of inhumation.
- 25 March - In a follow-up to last month's story on the skeleton in the Etruscan well, archaeologists have reconstructed the pottery found in the well along with him. Analysis of the skeleton is underway, and it's expected it will be on display by the summer.
- 28 March - The Etruscan necropolis of Vulci was opened, revealing dozens of burials. Excavation and analysis is expected to get underway shortly.
- 30 March - A Hellenistic- to Roman-era cemetery was found recently in Thessaloniki, Greece, during construction of a new metro station. 75 graves have been found, only about half of them have been studied. Many of the grave goods date to the 2nd-3rd centuries AD.
Discussions and News
- 4 March - Slate talks to Alain Touwaide, the director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions at the Smithsonian, about medicine in antiquity, with a lot of discussion of the Hippocratic corpus and the Greco-Roman healing tradition.
- 28 March - Turkey is demanding the return of a Roman sarcophagus (2nd century BC) which was taken illegally from the province of Antalya and found by customs officers in Geneva.
- 29 March - Fun little post at BrainPicker on ancient Romans' beliefs about animals, drawn from the writing of Aelian, including such gems as: "Cranes have some sort of power which arouses women and causes them to dispense sexual favors."
Museum Exhibits and Conferences
- 6 March - Mildenhall Museum (UK) will be displaying the burial of a warrior and his horse, dating to about 500 AD (late Roman / early Anglo-Saxon). The graveyard where he was found contains over 400 additional burials.
- 24 March - The 300 or so skeletons recovered from Herculaneum in the 1980s will be returned to the site, and about 150 of them will be displayed starting in April. This is very cool news; if I'm in Italy this summer, I want to head down and check them out (also, I've been to Pompeii but never to Herculaneum). Some of the earliest work in Roman bioarch was done on the Herculaneum collection by Sara Bisel, including very early trace element analysis.
|Skeletons from Herculaneum (79 AD) (credit)|
- 28 March - In April, the archaeological superintendency of Liguria will be hosting a conference on the "Long History of Life and Mankind in Liguria." They will also reopen the Museo delle Grotte in Toirano, with a Roman skeleton going on display. (See below for my complaint about the skeleton.)
- 28 March - Also in April, there will be an osteology symposium in Rimini.
- 9 March - Possible twin burial from from the German Iron Age, by S. Flohr in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.
- 26 March - Evidence of leprosy in child burials from Imperial Rome (2nd-3rd century AD), by M. Rubini and colleagues, in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. I cover the article here as Leprosy in an Imperial Roman Child.
- 27 March - A summary of strontium and oxygen isotope variation in archaeological human tooth enamel excavated from Britain, by J. Evans and colleagues, in the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry. This article has a lot of good information about oxygen isotope variation in the Roman Empire.
Blog Posts and Articles
|Infant burial with egg, from the|
Vatican necropolis (credit)
- 6 March - Katy Meyers covers Rebecca Redfern's recent work on assessing the effects of Romanization on health in Romano-Britain.
- 13 March - I write about childbirth and C-sections in bioarchaeology, with special reference to the Roman lex Caesarea.
- 20 March - I also write about the history of Easter eggs - which come into Christianity through burial and which are sometimes found in Roman graves.
- 28 March - And I complain about the incorrect anatomical arrangement of the skeleton that will be displayed at the Museo delle Grotte (see above).