Who made up 99% of Rome?

Published on November 15th, 2011 | by Sevaan Franks

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Kristina Killgrove is attempting to use DNA analysis to determine the origins of the lower-class of Rome who made up 99% of the population.

People have long been interested in the Romans, but most archaeologists only started paying attention to their skeletons in the last 30 years or so. There are currently anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 skeletons knocking about in Italian warehouses, and most have been ignored because of lack of money and personnel. “It’s an untapped data source, especially about the common people, the ones we know nothing about,” says Killgrove.

Since 2007, Killgrove has been studying 200 skeletons recovered from lower-class graves excavated outside Rome’s city walls. As they went about their lives, these Romans incorporated chemical isotopes from their water, food and environment into their bones and teeth. By measuring the levels of these isotopes, Killgrove could reconstruct the lives of her subjects.

[Full story]

Story: CNN | Photo: CNN

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