Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival XXXIV
Some skeletons for your Halloween... This month, we've got quality over quantity (that is, really interesting news, but not much of it).
- 2 October - Roman Skulls Unearthed Deep Beneath London (via CNN). The big news this month comes from the ongoing Crossrail Project, which previously came across a 16th century Bedlam cemetery. As archaeologists dug deeper, they found at least 20 Roman-era skulls. Although some want them to be remains of Boudicca's slaughtered Romans, they are likely secondary deposition, washed out of a Roman cemetery somewhere upstream. More pictures can be seen at the BBC and at The Independent.
|Roman skull unearthed in Crossrail Project. (via BBC)|
- 21 October - Oops! Etruscan Warrior Prince Really a Princess (via Discovery News). The other ongoing saga this month involves a previously unopened Etruscan tomb that revealed two individuals (one skeletonized, the other cremated) and a ton of grave goods, including a spear. Archaeologists originally attributed the spear to the skeletonized remains and called it a "prince," but it seems that individual was female, whereas the cremated individual was male. There are additional pictures of the grave goods at Discovery News. More important, though, is the issue of assigning sex and/or gender to skeletal remains based on grave goods. For more on the hopelessly gendered assumption that spear = man (and then sewing box = woman; see, for example, this Italian story about a "noble seamstress" and this headline from Discovery News), see Rosemary Joyce's important blog post. Honestly, I'm just going to wait for the proper osteological report before drawing conclusions. Both skeletons seem to have been evaluated in the field for age and sex, but there hasn't been an official report yet.
|Etruscan Prince(ss)? (via Discovery News)|
- 25 October - Roman Child's Grave Unearthed in Countryside near Hinckley (via The Hinckley Times). This find is particularly interesting because it's a lead casket -- that's what led metal detectorists to find it, actually. As far as I can tell, though, the assumption that it's a child comes from the size of the sarcophagus. And I have no idea why people are assuming it's a Christian burial. There are lead sarcophagi in Rome and Roman Britain from the Empire. This one dates to the 3rd century AD, according to news reports. Here's more from the BBC.
|3rd c AD lead sarcophagus found in Britain. (via Hinckley Times)|
- 24 September - 10 Incorrect Ancient Greek and Roman Theories about the Body (via Listverse). Web page seems to have moved? This is the cached version.
- 25 October - Le Ossa Svelano le Malattie di Roma Antica (via Il Messagero). This upcoming exhibit at the Museo Nazionale Romano should be really interesting, as it brings together data on palaeopathology from a variety of Rome-area cemeteries (including Casal Bertone, one of the cemeteries I studied for my dissertation). If you're in Rome in the coming months, you should definitely go check it out (and send me notes!).
- 1 November - "Fatal cranial injury in an individual from Messina (Sicily) during the times of the Roman Empire," Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. It's not often that we can tell cause- or manner-of-death from long-dead people, so this archaeo-forensic case is quite interesting.
- 1 December - "The pilgrimage economy of Early Roman Jerusalem (1st century BCE–70 CE) reconstructed from the δ15N and δ13C values of goat and sheep remains," Journal of Archaeological Science. Haven't read it yet, but it looks pretty interesting!
- 1 March - And today's the last day you can download my Journal of Anthropological Archaeology article "Food for Rome" for free. Check it out if you haven't already! I'm also happy to pass along a copy of my annotated bibliography of bioarchaeology, which came out at the beginning of October. It's particularly useful for undergrad and grad students interested in bioarchaeology.