Archaeologists have recently completed a study of 39 skulls unearthed from a series of pits in London. The study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, reveals the brutality of life in the ancient Roman city of Londinium. Many of the skulls bore marks indicating that the ancient Britons had suffered head wounds during their life and had then healed. In addition, many of the skulls had further damage that was indicative of unnatural death, most by violent trauma and/or decapitation.

The authors of the study theorize that evidence of the violent deaths may be evidence of gladiators in ancient London. The skulls were discovered in several pits and a well near Walbrook, quite near the location of the amphitheater that stood during the Roman occupation of Britain. Other experts on the topic of Roman gladiators are skeptical that the skulls are concrete evidence of gladiators in ancient London. Alternative theories posed by archaeologists include the theory that the skulls are trophies of Roman headhunters, or possibly that the skulls once belonged to executed criminals.

[Full story]