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The mystery of the headless Romans ??
Personally I have never forgiven YAT for starting these rumours that the Vikings were vaguely civilised and then perpetuating it by opening the Yorvik centre....perhaps they could let Channel 4 loose on the original Coppergate archive so that the truth can be re-established.....:face-stir:
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Viking's just a job description, so why not? C4 would do the subject justice, or perhaps injustice.
Prime practitioner of headology, with a side order of melting glass with a stern glare.
Here is the quite timely view of the HRP senior curator.

Haven't had time to really digest what she is trying to say - honestly promote the true stories about the stuff we interpret or to allow some embelishment (the Hollywood effect) of the truth? Perhaps it has a lot to do with the extent many archaeologists are willing to take the interpretation of their data. I know many who are quite cautious when it comes to the extent they are willing to take their interpretations while some charge off with the most incredible string of thought processes based upon the slimmest and flimsiest of facts. Don't want to batter them, but this tends to be the approach of Time Team and, sadly, I think this is their unfortunate legacy that has been assimilated up by the public and is now being fed back to them by other production companies - the misheld belief that major and knowledge-shifting insights into the past can often, repeat often, be derived from the simplest of evidence. Yes, the paradigm-shifting discoveries are there - I would suggest that the recent Staffordshire Hoard had overturned a number of basic assumptions about AS England - but these are most definitely not the norm. I don't think it is very helpful to archaeologists and our discipline at large to have a public with such a high expectation of our work. It is only, surely, making any advocacy work about the purposes and merits of archaeology, in the academic, museum, commercial and community sectors, even harder.
Greetings all.

Just back from a spot of diggage and nursing gravel knees. Have been gagging to comment on this Channel 4 offering since I squirmed my way through the episode.
Seems to me, that both YAT and UCLAN have deemed themselves to be immune from the rightful acknowledgement of another specialists work. This work was carried out back in 2004, has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles and has been presented in lecture formats ever since. YAT and UCLAN have literally lifted the work of others, draped it in the clothing of child-like sensationalism, spoon-fed a pantomime to the unwitting viewer and hoped that no-one would notice.
Quite a few of us out here in the real world have noticed. Verily.

I was lucky enough to cast an eye over the original report as I know the specialist author who carried out the analysis. Here`s a few questions for either YAT or UCLAN...
1. Not a single individual from the entire assemblage exhibited healed blade injuries. How likely do you think this would be for career gladiators?
2. The individual with bite marks was strategraphically uppermost within a single cut containing three individuals. This would enhance the potential for scavenging by dogs etc. Why was this not discussed?
3. The individual with the cut to the knee was said to have no other evidence of trauma. He was in fact decapitated. Trauma enough? Why was this not discussed?
4. Why was decapitation mentioned for only one individual when the majority of the assemblage had been decapitated?
5. Two of their six individuals had unhealed post-cranial blade injuries. There were in fact only about four individuals like this from an entire assemblage of 80 people. Why portray this trait as a common phenomenon within this assemblage? When it`s not.
6. The guy with changes to his clavicle was touted as the net-swinging blokey. On that basis, as a high proportion of the assemblage also had this trait- were they all net swingers? A high proportion of individuals from the Towton medieval site and the Mary Rose exhibited the same. Did they all swing nets?

Seems to me that a perfectly sane specialist carried out some fine work on an important assemblage and made some astonishing discoveries. The original specialist chose not to support the gladiator interpretation based upon the factual evidence. After about four years to allow the dust to settle after the first television debut of this assemblage, YAT seems to have asked someone else to assess the data. UCLAN made no new discoveries in their analysis and in fact, their data is (suspiciously) literally identical to the original to the millimetre. How then, is this "ground breaking" and "internationally important" in 2010 but not in 2005?

What`s going on?:0
And by the way......

The highlight of the entire episode was watching someone desperately attempting to make a tooth fit a hole. Never in the histories of such spurious fits did so much sunlight pour through the gaps! Thank you for a pant-wetting moment Channel four.:face-approve:
Not seen this offering yet, still waiting for it on Youtube.The write up mentioned that some of these gadgies had been bashed around by a proto-Timmy Mallet and had head trauma as a result. Any truth in this?
Belhaven is your friend
as madweasel says a timely article..

her is a pertinent quote

Quote:Of course television and film loves this sort of "intriguing new theory".

Are we archaeologists or entertainers. I am a believer that you can be both... perhaps I like the stage Wink however.. to mislead the public who now firmly believe the gladiators to be a FACT is worrying.

And as we now have established, this research and work has been carried out years previous to the new programme wher the only difference is in interpretation... ho hum! Would love to hear more... as I am only too aware of the editing power of a TV company... where the "but it could also be"... and the "of course we can't be sure " is cut from the final edit.. er.. for time reasons....

leaving you standing there making absolute statements of facts..

I agree with what troll says and perhaps it is just us that have the forensics thought to think... hang on? why all 6 types of gladiator! wait a minute the tooth evidence is dodgy... er... the decapitations were more common... etc etc etc evidence that does not fit is given a torturous explanation... what about simple facts

As I said at teh start... the YAT give the option to vote for we don't have enough evidence... use that wisely
"intriguing new theory".

The problem with intriguing new theories and the new "spin" put on old information is that it leads to an assupmtion of FACT as this C4 programme suggested (hands up, haven't seen it...don't own a TV).

A classic example, if you will pardon the pun, is the number of English Literature "students" (term used very loosely) who now quote with confidence that Mr Darcy emerged from swimming in a pond (or even a swimming pool) before he met Elizabeth Bennet at his home in Derbyshire...thank you BBC! (And not a scrap of pond weed to be seen. Put me off Colin Firth for life!)

One could also cite Classic FM for passing off film scores as classical music..Star Wars...Lord of the Rings (<<yawn>>) ...that'll be the film Gladiator as well then!

It may be entertainment but it is also highly naive and irresponsible to think that what they create does not becomes engraved in tablets of stone for the easily impressed and intellectually challenged.

Perhaps the piece on gladiators was designed to hang on to the popularity of the film (see above) and "sex up" the find - but then again when a highly popular film sees a Roman Legionary General fight the Emperor in the arena what hope is there?
<<harumph, shake the Daily Telegraph in disgust>>
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
For me, wild interpretations can make for fine television entertainment and any archaeologist has a right to assert their own view on data. No problems with that at all. I would argue that archaeologists should acknowledge the original work as well before re-interpreting it and this warrants some serious discussion.:face-approve:

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