Grim reality of life in ancient Rome revealed: Average worker was DEAD by 30 – having become riddled with arthritis and crippled by broken bones
By Ekin Karasin May 28, 2016 Daily Mail
The average ancient Roman worker was riddled with arthritis, suffered broken bones and was dead by 30 thanks to a diet of rotting grains and a lifetime of hard labour.
The grim realities of the Eternal City were revealed in a study carried out by an Italian team of specialists that used modern-scanning techniques to analyse 2,000 ancient skeletons.
The majority of the skeletons from the first and third century AD, found in the suburbs of the ancient city, had broken collar bones, noses and hand bones.
The shocking discovery came as they were dug out during construction on a high speed rail line between Rome and Naples over the last 15 years.
While fractured and broken bones were commonplace injuries among poor, working class Romans, high incidences of bone cancer were also found.
And chronic arthritis was found to be rife in the shoulders, the knees and the back of skeletons as young as 20.
Medical historian Valentina Gazzaniga told The Local: 'We can speculate that some of these people would have spent their lives working in nearby salt mines due to the patterns of arthritis they display.
‘What’s interesting is that the average age of death across the sample group was just 30, yet the skeletons still display severe damage wrought by the extremely difficult working conditions of the day.’
The research did show, however, that the city’s ancient dwellers had become skilled at treating such injuries.
The study found that Romans would place a wooden cage over the limb until the broken bones eventually bound back together…