Far East body dated I cent. AD found (Italy)
february 10th, 2010
"This discovery poses many questions about globalisation and human mobility in Roman times,"
she said in the Journal of Roman Archaeology. "The tests are only preliminary but the results are intriguing," she said.
The analysis of the man's mitochondrial DNA was unable to establish whether he himself came to ancient Apulia or was descended
from Asians already living there, Prowse said.
"The man probably lived between the first and second century AD but we can't say if he arrived on his own
or was the son of people who preceded him".
Prowse speculated the man was "probably a menial worker or a slave, because in his tomb we only found the
food supposed to help him get to the afterlife and, above all, because another tomb was on top of his".
The anthropologist will present her study, 'Investigating population origins and migration on an Imperial Roman Estate at
Vagnari, south Italy', at a conference at Oxford University next month.
The Vagnari estate and necropolis, about 12km west of Gravina di Puglia, was discovered in 2002 and has so far yielded
the remains of 70 people.
In Roman times the area was known for iron-working and producing terracotta tiles, the remains of many of which were found
over the tombs.
The Ancient Romans are known to have traded with territories nowadays known as India, Sri Lanka and China, via intermediaries, but
it was not thought that East Asians immigrated to Italy.