Burying poor Romans

Although the rich in Rome could have an elaborate mausoleum on the Via Appia, the poor were often flung onto a rubbish heap. A meager burial suggests that the deceased was lower middle class, and had family or friends willing to take the time to inter them.

In the case of the 300 skeletons found near Ponte Galeria, the bones themselves were more interesting than the grave goods - proof that for the humble of Rome, working in the Imperial port was literally back-breaking work. One head was found with the lower and upper jaw fused together, which must have made it difficult to eat - but shows that the disabled were not necessarily discarded by 'society' (his bones suggest he lived until he was 30).

Ancient laborer burial ground excavated near Rome - AP

The archaeological service have released this photo of a necklace found in one of the tombs [source].

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