Despite the fact that we know many things about great ancient civilizations such as Rome, there are still plenty of things about which we are in the dark. This is mostly because of the fact that not many records were kept from that time, except if they were important. For example, we have suspected for a while that Rome was a hub of sorts, but we weren’t able to prove it. Finally, after investigating the oxygen isotopes in the teeth of some remains, researchers confirm Imperial Rome migrant patterns.
All roads lead to Rome
It is believed that as many as one million people called Rome their home. Sure, not all of them would have been happy to say that. As 40% of the population was constituted by slaves, but 55% were actual Rome citizens, and about 5% were immigrants.
This population was an ever flowing river of people, with citizens coming, living there and dying, while others were born in the city only to leave and then die somewhere else. Despite this fact being suspected, that Rome was an important hub of the ancient world, we had encountered no actual proof so far.
Even world renowned experts, despite everything pointing towards the fact that the premise was true, weren’t able to prove with evidence that Rome was a hub for immigrants. This was the situation until very recently, when the archaeologist duo of Kristina Killgrove and Janet Montgomery looked inside a 2,000 year old cemetery on the city’s outskirts.
Migrant patterns from unearthed bones
By looking at the teeth of some of the bodies they found, the two managed to ascertain that they weren’t born in Rome, as well as when they lived. But this isn’t all that the remains of the several males and children, as well as those of one female revealed.
Some of the bodies were born in North Africa, the Alps, or the Apennine Mountains, and some were very young. This led the team to determine that they either arrives as part of a larger group of migrants, or that they were brought there as slaves.
Even with the help of the teeth, the archaeologists didn’t manage to ascertain the individuals’ societal status, but they were able to determine that their diet changed as they moved to Rome to meat, fish, wheat, and legumes.
This is a very important discovery for the archeologist community, as now more theories can finally start to be formed, this time based on facts instead of supposition.
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