It has been two millennia since gladiators reached the peak of their popularity. However, there is still much interest surrounding their lives and their chosen careers. thankfully, a recent study revealed more information about the illustrious lives of what is the equivalent of Roman celebrities.
More than ten years ago in 2004 a team of archeologists unearthed 80 skeletons at a house located on Driffeld Terrace in York, England. Eventually, the group discovered that the remains date back to the 4th century AD. The group of skeletons have been deemed peculiar since 75 of them are male, under 45 years old, all but one have brown eyes and dark hair and an inch taller than the average Roman man. It was later deduced that the artifacts are remains of a group of gladiators.
Five years following the discovery, further evidence that the remains are that of gladiators since some of the skeletons seemed to have met their demise at the hand of a large carnivore like a lion or a bear. Still others showed signs of succumbing to a form of mercy killing.
Recently, a team from the Trinity College Dublin selected seven skeletons from the group of eighty to conduct genomic analysis on. The study uncovered that most of the remains are related to those of a female skeleton from Yorkshire. However there are some differences between the isotopes from the female to the male skeletons. This suggests that while the supposed gladiators lived mostly in Britain they have spent some time elsewhere.
"Archaeology and osteoarchaeology can tell us a certain amount about the skeletons, but this new genomic and isotopic research can not only tell us about the body we see, but about its origins, and that is a huge step forward" explained Christine McDonnell from the York Archaeological Trust.