Their concentration on the Knobs farm, where they represent one-third of the graves, makes the site an exceptional event. “Various interpretations have been put forward to describe the decapitated bodies of the Roman era: human sacrifices, punishment for slaves, persecution of minorities, trophies or worship of the Iron Age, protection against war, robbery, murder or witchcraft,” says Isabel Lisbo, archaeologist who led the excavations at the Knobs farm.
Osteological examination of the bodies found at the site made it possible to eliminate most of these hypotheses. In particular in the analysis of the two of them their heads were cut off in advance, determined by a single blow by a sword.
The other two who were beheaded had deep gasses, one in the skull, the other in the face and body. Injuries that may be signs of torture, even if the researchers do not rule out an autopsy.
According to them, these tortured bodies are not the bodies of slaves, even if they have marks of hard physical labor and betray the deceased’s own social status downwards. Roman law actually allowed slaves to be killed.
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