A Cemetery of Secrets
In 2004-5, eighty burials, dating from the early 2nd century to the late 3rd century AD, were unearthed in York. This site was part of a large cemetery on the outskirts of the Roman town of Eboracum, across the river from the legionary fortress.
The discoveries displayed evidence that so intrigued the archaeologists that further investigation was needed. This search for answers, which is ongoing, has suggested that these people could have been a group of gladiators, who lived and fought in York during the Roman occupation.
Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets is an exhibition that features the skeletal remains of six of the men, all of whom were decapitated and suffered injuries prior to death, buried in this cemetery alongside other burial evidence from Roman graves across York. Recent research has added to the story and uncovered more about who these men were, where they came from, how they died and why.
To accompany the exhibition is a hands-on area for children that allows them to explore a Roman market with associated activities and games, plus AV material and replica costume, helmets and armour.
“Working in partnership with York Archaeological Trust (The JORVIK Group) to project manage the exhibition was a pleasurable and rewarding period that brought great rewards to the City including; 6 new jobs, 2000 visitors in the first 3 months, book signings, special lectures, school visits and a 98% visitor satisfaction rate. It was an amazingly positive scheme that brought a vacant premises back into use”.
Regeneration and Development Manager – Durham County Council