Scientists are amazed by recent unearthed skeletons, as ancient cemeteries reveal clues to human migration in Imperial Rome.
We are all familiar to the saying ‘all roads lead to Rome’. It can be translated as ‘alRoman Empire, Rome. Today, the story of the hopeful people living the backwaters of the ancient world is a story that hardly seems to change.
According to the close observation of 2,000-year-old skeletons in two Roman cemeteries, researchers state that some migrants were likely from outside Roman Empire, possibly from North Africa and the Alps. Kristina Killgrove from University of West Florida, in the US, and Janet Montgomery from Britain’s Durham University did isotope analyses of 105 skeletons buried at the necropolises during the first through the third centuries AD.
The investigation took place in two Imperial-era cemeteries and showed that several individuals, mostly men and children, migrated to Rome, changing significantly their diet after their move. Four of the individuals were born outside Rome: three male adults, including one over age 50, and a teen between 11 and 15. Another four showed signs of possible migration: two children under 12, a teen boy, and an older teenage girl.
So, the question still remains: ‘Where did they come from?’ According to the researchers, two of the migrants came from old-mountain areas like the Alps or islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, while a third apparently came from Italy’s Apennine mountains. The last immigrant may have been born in Northern Africa, or else he just ate a lot of grain imported from there, as was common in Rome.
No matter where they came from, though, once they got to the imperial city, these immigrants ate like other Romans, declare the researchers. The diet change consisted of wheat, beans, meat and fish. This is the living proof that when in Rome (or its empire), you really had to do as the Romans did.
A recent press release claims that further DNA analysis is needed to expose further genetic origins of the individuals. However, the analysis of their teeth is enough to tell Killgrove and Montgomery the general and initial origin of the people buried there. Genetic data couldn’t confirm what the teeth analysis says, but it could tell us the ethnic origin of the immigrants.
This case study demonstrates the importance of employing bioarchaeology to generate a deeper understanding of a complex ancient urban center.
Killgrove and Montgomery wrote.
All in all, the recent discovery is definitely an exciting step in uncovering secrets about the ancient city and its immigrants.
Image Source: mentalfloss.com.