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Reviews related to role-playing games, with a focus on Gods & Monsters, and a bit of superhero gaming.

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Vampires of York

Jerry Stratton, July 30, 2016

York gladiator skull: An archaeologist examines a York Roman gladiator skull for the camera. January 19, 2016. York Archaeological Trust.; decapitation

Scientist welcomes our old immortal overlords back to life… or unlife. (York Archaeological Trust)

Forget the werewolves of London. According to the July/August 2016 Archaeology a graveyard in Driffield Terrace in York contains Roman Empire-era men with their heads chopped off, the skulls buried “nearby”.

Some archaeologists are calling them gladiators, but according to University of St. Andrews archaeologist Jon Coulson,

…the idea that they had been gladiators [is] “wishful thinking.” Beheading wasn’t common for gladiators—or criminals, for that matter. Coulson says, “I see no connection between decapitation and gladiatorial displays.”

Archaeologists may be confused, but we know what decapitation means: some form of undead that can only be killed by removal of the head and separation of body parts.

I found a lot of other articles about the site, most of which posit either gladiatorial or military explanations for the skeletons. All of them mention the decapitation angle and then completely ignore it. Almost as if they know the truth but are conspiring not to panic the public… only the Guardian offers support for the gladiatorial theory, but that support is frightening:

Other theories about the grave have included a pagan rite involving decapitation, or a pogrom against a minority group such as Christians, but evidence for either is lacking. Gladiators were brought into the debate in earnest three years ago, when the discovery of burials of arena combatants at Ephesus in Turkey revealed a similar combination of hammer blows to the skull and decapitation as at York.

Ephesus is old Anatolia. That’s where young Vlad Dracul gained his power. Let’s hope the archaeologists aren’t storing the heads and the bodies in the same location…

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