Possible Human Sacrifice at the Origins of Rome: Novel Skeletal Evidences.

Laura Ottini, Luciana Rita Angeletti, Walter Benedetto Pantano, Mario Falchetti, Simona Minozzi, Patrizia Fortini, Paola Catalano, Renato Mariani-Costantini


Recent archaeological excavations at the Carcer/Tullianum,in the Roman Forum, allowed the unexpected recovery of human burials associated with the very early foundations of the monument,at the beginning of the iron age.The study of these burials resulted in interesting paleopathological discoveries,concerning the skeleton of a strongly-built male,radiocarbon-dated between 830 and 780 BC.The telltale posture of the skeleton and the presence of a massive perimortal blunt force trauma of the skull shed light on the mode and circumstances of the death of this subject,and are suggestive of ritual sacrifice.The archaeological, mythological and historical backgrounds,combined with the paleopathological evidence,help us to get a glimpse of life and death at the origins of Rome.

Key Words: Ancient Rome - Capitol Hill,paleopathology - Human sacrifice - Cranial fracture

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