Mirrors, body-dump babies, zombies and more: Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival LXXIII

For those with an interest in history the latest edition of Kristina Killgrove‘s wonderful Roman Bioarcheology Carnival is out. As usual, Kristina runs through the month picking the best, most interesting and the downright quirky news from the world of bioarchaeology.

Kristine Killgrove Image: http://killgrove.org/
Kristine Killgrove Image: http://killgrove.org/

Bioarchaeology research can be extremely helpful in our study and understanding of the Bible and the world in which it was formed. There are a  number of posts in this month’s offerings that are worthy of note.

Kristina has done a terrific job once more with Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival LXXIII. Please note that the contents below is only a small sample of what is on offer. It is intended to whet your appetite rather than be an exhaustive replication.

A Sleeping Beauty and a Roman Hoard

Those familiar with the Ethiopian Queen Candace’s (Kandake) official of Acts 8: 27-39 will not be surprised of links between Roman Palestine and Ethiopia. A recent excavation has uncovered the 2,000 year-old grave of an Ethiopian woman filled with treasure from  the Roman empire and the Aksumite kingdom. It is said that she was buried gazing into a Roman bronze mirror. Finds like this can help us to build a better picture of trading and political links between empires and kingdoms, as well as providing us with more detail about life, death and burial practices of the near neighbours of Israel.

Babies and Dogs

Other interesting posts include the dumping of 450 bodies of babies in an Athenian well (most apparently dying from natural causes), along with the bodies of numerous dogs. Although the report does not suggest infanticide, this find might be of interest to those who read one of NRCBR’s last year’s posts: The dark reality of infanticide behind Matthew 1:21.

Remaining on the theme of burial practices , six ‘unique’ tombs (7th – 4th cent. B.C.E.) have been discovered at Aswan. Elsewhere, the catacombs of Cairo have been found to contain around eight million mummified dogs.

Zombies and Ancient Greeks… maybe

Zombie prevention burial
Zombie prevention measures? Reproduction by D. Weiss from archaeologist G. Di Stefano’s excavation journal. Image: http://www.livescience.com/51335-greek-undead-spirits.html

One of the problems of the dead (if we are to believe the plethora of popular television series) is that they don’t always stay dead. Kristina notes a Discovery News item that trumpets the headline that the ‘Ancient Greeks were afraid of zombies’. It has to be said that Kristina doesn’t seem overly impressed and, on reflection, I can’t think of many societies (ancient or modern) that don’t express a reluctance to consort with the ‘living dead.’

Mentioning the Unmentionables

On a cheerier note, Kristina draws our attention to a fresco of Paprias (which should warn you of what is coming) in Pompeii which depicts, what she delicately describes as ‘problematic genitalia’*. There is also a link to another of her posts which answers the question on everyone’s mind – ‘what did the Roman soldiers wear under their uniforms? I won’t spoil the surprise… and their are pictures!

* A word of warning, only those with a strong constitution should view this… and I would also advise not doing so on a full stomach!!! – Disclaimer – and don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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