Skulls from ancient London suggest ritual decapitations

River finds may be remains of head-hunting victims or of defeated gladiators

By Bruce Bower, 16:43 PM January 15, 2014

Rare evidence of ritual beheadings in ancient Roman-controlled London comes from three dozen human skulls bearing an array of serious wounds, scientists say.

Decapitated heads were placed in closely spaced pits along Walbrook Stream, a tributary of the Thames River, say biological anthropologist Rebecca Redfern of the Museum of London and forensic anthropologist Heather Bonney of the Natural History Museum in London.

Damage from clubs, knives and other weapons suggests that the skulls came from...

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