Isotope analysis of 2,000-year-old skeletons has given the first direct evidence of internal migration within the Roman Empire.
“They say that all roads lead to Rome, but finding direct evidence of immigrants to the Eternal City has troubled archaeologists for decades,” bioarchaeologist Kristina Killgrove of the University of West Florida, said.
She and colleague Janet Montgomery from Durham University in the UK, examined 105 skeletons buried at two Roman cemeteries between the first and third centuries CE.
By analysing the oxygen, strontium, and carbon isotope ratios in the skeletons’ teeth they determined the geographical origin and diet.
The results provide a more granular picture of ancient migration patterns than we have seen before.