Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!


Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

LONDON (Reuters) - Archaeologists believe they may have found the world’s best-preserved gladiator cemetery after noticing animal bite marks and combat injuries on some of the 80, mainly headless, Roman skeletons unearthed at a site in the city of York in northern England.

“At present our lead theory is that many of these skeletons are those of Roman gladiators,” said Kurt Hunter-Mann of York Archaeological Trust, who is leading the excavations.

Forensic anthropologist at the University of Central Lancashire, Michael Wysocki, who examined the remains, called the find an internationally significant discovery.
“We don’t have any other potential gladiator cemeteries with this level of preservation anywhere else in the world,” he said.

“One of the most significant items of evidence is a large carnivore bite mark – probably inflicted by a lion, tiger or bear – an injury which must have been sustained in an arena context,” Hunter-Mann said.
“It would seem highly unlikely that this individual was attacked by a tiger as he was walking home from the pub in York 2000 years ago,” he said.

Ah, the British sense of humour!
Who knew there were gladiators in Britain?
Were they the minor leagues – did draft picks go on to the Colosseum?

Hey! Ya gotta start somewhere!

:okpeople: I can’t hearrr yoouuu recruit!!! Drop an’ give me 50!!!

Britain was part of the Roman empire, they also had African and Asian citizens and slaves there as well.

This reminds me of a good laugh I had once. I remember, long ago talking to a particularly racist fellow who was quite proud of his Anglo-Saxon heritage. With a straight face, I asked him how he really felt about being part African and all. He instantly went on point like a bird dog and asked me what I meant.

I explained (I made it up actually, just to jerk him around) that back during Roman days many, many, many black africans were brought there as slaves, so that anyone of British heritage had a good deal of black “blood” in him.

It really brought the guy down. With any luck at all, it might have eventually made a difference in his thinking.

So here I am, all these years later, discovering that I might have actually been telling him the truth.

The Romans arrived to stay in 43 CE, they left in 410, that’s 367 years. Taking that length of time back from now that would be 1643.

In 1643 the Pilgrim Fathers’ landing was a couple of decades old.

Seems to me that there’d been enough time for a bit of Roman culture to have established itself. :slight_smile:

I know the Romans were in Britain, Hadrian’s wall, &c. – just for some reason it never occurred that they would have had gladiators out in such a remote outpost.

I was brought up in one of the cities that had been founded originally by the Romans and extensive remains of settlement and of Roman daily life were being found all the time while digging foundations for redevelopment or expansion. That’s not just true of the major centres, things like villa sites in the countryside are always being discovered (dis-covered literally).

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