17 decapitated skeletons found in an ancient Roman cemetery
Seventeen decapitated skeletons around 1,700 years ago have been found in three Roman cemeteries at Nobbs Farm in Cambridgeshire, England.
Archaeologists who excavated the site believe people were executed for breaking Roman law. However, researchers unrelated to this study have given mixed opinions on this explanation.
Fifty-two burials were laid to rest in the cemetery and the 17 beheaded bodies included nine men and eight women, aged 25 or older at the time of death, the research team said on May 19. I pointed this out in an article. published online in the same magazine the same day. BritanniaOften a decapitated person’s head was buried next to his foot, and pottery was usually placed where the head was. Some of the bodies were laid face down (stomach down) in the grave.
Relationship: Photograph of a decapitated skeleton buried in a Roman cemetery
Researchers believe those who were beheaded were executed. They noted that the number of crimes punishable by death under Roman law increased dramatically between the 3rd and 4th centuries when these skeletons were buried. Existing archaeological evidence suggests that the Roman army used the Nobu farm as a supply center and took strict measures against the breach, the researchers said.
“From the 3rd to the 4th century, the penalties imposed by Roman law continued to increase. The number of crimes involving the death penalty rose from 14 at the start of the 3rd century to around 60 due to Constantine’s death in 337 AD. The number has increased. “Researchers pointed out in a newspaper article that security concerns were one of the reasons for the increase in death sentences. During the 3rd and 4th centuries there were numerous civil wars within the Roman Empire, with several people fighting for the throne. so called “BarbaricIt was a major concern at the time.
Despite the possible execution, the individual was still buried in a pottery vessel and, in some cases, placed in a coffin. Archaeologist Isabel Lisboa, who led the excavation, said: “By far the most abundant collection of funeral objects from beheaded women, buried in two vessels and a necklace of silver charcoal beads. It was. “Charcoal can be a type of charcoal that is easy to glow. “Under Roman law, family and friends could request a return to bury the body of an executed criminal,” the team wrote in a newspaper article.
If this policy applies, explain why the executed person was allowed to approach an appropriate burial.
Those executed were probably not slaves, “the slaves had no status” and probably had not received any graves, coffins or burial objects, Lisboa said.
Live Science contacted several researchers who were not involved in the study to get an idea of the discovery. There weren’t many responses at the time of publication. However, a few scholars who were skeptical that Roman law had much to do with the execution of these individuals were skeptical.
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“What we know of the location of the executions in the Roman courts suggests that they took place mainly in towns and villages, as a public spectacle and because of their deterrent effect. Said Simon Cleary, professor emeritus of Roman archeology at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He noticed that Nobu’s farm was not near the big cities.
Laws passed by the Roman Emperor are difficult to enforce in remote areas, Cleary told Live Science. “In fact, whether or not to do what the emperor ordered is a local justice of the peace. It was up to the landowner or the government official, ”Clary said. ” if that’s so [the decapitated burials] If this is the result of such a law, one would expect to find execution burials, especially beheadings, throughout the empire. It just doesn’t happen. Beheading burials are almost entirely confined to Britain, ”he said. Therefore, unless Britain is a region that imposes much more serious imperial law than the rest of the empire, we must seek explanations within Britain. It suggests that. ”
Cleary added that while these people may have been executed, Roman law believes they may have nothing to do with why they were killed. “Until the 4th century.” Plus, the Roman army was literally a law in itself for centuries, and civilians didn’t come back, ”Cleary said. Why most of the decapitated burials in the Roman Empire took place in Britain. Is unknown. “Sometimes Roman Britain can be really, really strange, especially in dealing with the dead. Besides decapitated or lying burials, other things that seem strange to us. There are many practices, Cleary said.
Other scholars also suspected that Roman law had a lot to do with the beheaded burial. “Personally, I think it is highly unlikely that the execution on Nobu’s farm was linked to legal proceedings at the end of the Roman era,” said the director of the Institute of Law and Constitution from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. said Caroline Humfres. “If there is a judicial context, it will be localized and more likely to be linked to a summary execution,” Hamfres told Live Science.
Nonetheless, other scholars believed that these people may have been executed in accordance with Roman law. “Public executions seem to be the best explanation for the Nob’s Farm affair,” said Judith Evans Grabs, professor of Roman history at Emory University in Atlanta. “Official executions will be under the authority of the governor, not local justice, and will reflect the idea of imperial crime, not local,” Grabs said. She is a woman from the Roman Empire. Often subject to accusations of witchcraft and adultery, both of which could be considered serious crimes for the Romans.
The excavation of the site took place between 2001 and 2010. The drilling was 100% owned by a company called Tarmac and was done before the quarry expansion, Lisboa said.
Originally published in Live Science.