The possible remains of 80 gladiators have been unearthed during an archaeological dig in York. The remains display the hallmarks of a brutal set of injuries caused by various different weapons and even from a large unidentifiableÂ animal.
There were definitely games afoot in the north of England during the Roman occupation of Britain. The remains which date back more than 1800 years were probably those of Gladiators who battled it out with each other and large carnivorous beasts in a Britain that we would hardly recognise.
And you thoughtÂ Quentin Tarantino films were a little brutal?
Well, back in old Roman Britain it looks like the ferocious thirst for blood by the baying viewers was as vampiric as From Dusk Till Dawn.
Hammer blows and bite marks are evident on the unearthed bones in what are probably the worlds best preserved gladiatorial relics. the bones also show the tell-tale signs of extreme muscle stress probably due to the extreme training regime suffered by the Gladiators.
The ethnicity of the unusually decapitated remains points towards multiracial combat within the gladiatorial arena with the fighters (who were mostly former nuisance slaves of above average height) themselves originating from the far corners of the Roman empire.
The Gladiators would have come from as far afield as North Africa and Eastern Europe.
But why do most the remains show signs of decapitation from the back of the neck when most scholars have thought that a stab to the throat was the most common way ofÂ carrying out the final execution?
The question that has been raised by the finds is this. Was the cemetery used for the burial ofÂ both Gladiators and criminals?
But there is no doubt that some of these remains are those of fallen Gladiators because of the way in which some of them were buried with grave goods to accompany them to the next world.