Bones of gladiator provide clues to York's Roman amphitheatre

Posted By: One India
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London, Dec 11 (ANI): The bones of a Roman gladiator, who was stabbed least six times in a fatal attack, could be a clue in the search for York's Roman amphitheatre.

The remains were found beneath the Yorkshire Museum during the museum's refurbishment.

The skeleton is that of a large powerful, athletic male, reports the BBC.

Where he was found has long thought to be one of the prime locations for the Roman amphitheatre that certainly would have existed in York.

Experts from York Osteoarchaeology Ltd conducted analysis and found that the skeleton was of a middle aged adult male, aged between 36 and 45 years.

He was very tall for a Roman at 179 cm and of a muscular build.

Lesions in his vertebrae suggest spinal stress, possibly through lifting heavy loads.

His arms are well developed and, similar to other gladiators found in York, bear all the hallmarks of repetitive sword training.

"This was a huge man for the Roman period who died a violent and bloody death. The physical evidence reveals he was a swordsman and that his body was literally dumped with the rubbish. There was no hint that he had been buried in a ceremonial waym," Andrew Morrison, head curator of the Yorkshire Museum, said.

The most notable clues on the skeleton are the six blade injuries which, because there are no signs of healing, were delivered at death.

The wounds are typical of someone involved in armed combat, possibly gladiatorial combat, with numerous blows inflicted before he was finally killed.

The skeleton was not discovered in a position associated with organised Roman burial but with animal bones and broken pottery.

It was found in an area, which has for a long time puzzled archaeologists as it is in close proximity to the Roman Fortress, on what was a very flat expanse of ground.

Andrew Morrison added: "What is really interesting to us is that he was found in this area, that many believe could be where York's amphitheatre was located. It is far from certain but it could well be the case that this man was a disgraced gladiator who was brutally killed and then left to rot." (ANI)

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