Twenty decapitated skeletons have been unearthed during the recent dig of a Roman cemetery near York in the UK. Some show signs of a violent death. Others were dispatched more cleanly. Were they executed or killed in a purge? Then a solitary skull is discovered during excavations at Vindolanda, a Roman frontier garrison along Hadrian’s Wall in England. Is there a connection between the two finds? Forensic analysis reveals that this was a man who had been viciously beaten around the head. Damage to the skull indicates that the head had been de-fleshed after death and displayed on a spike. It smacks of Celtic head-hunting practices, but it’s dated to the beginning of the third century AD, the height of Roman power in the area. So what is this barbaric trophy doing in a Roman garrison? A team of archaeologists is on the scene to try to solve this mystery.moreless
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