View Full Version : Two Roman Era "Chinese" skeletons found in London

26-09-16, 19:53
An interesting find, although we knew that there were economic ties between Rome and east Asian. In fact, I recently posted about some descriptions written by Han visitors to Rome.


"What they discovered exceeded their expectations: they found evidence that a very cosmopolitan community was buried in the cemetery. Four people were ethnically African and two were Asian – probably from ancient China, one of the most advance civilisations at the time."

I wonder if it was a cemetery for foreigners?

See also:

"Analysis has revealed that two skeletons dating from between the 2nd and 4th Century AD unearthed at the site in the city's Southwark area may have been Chinese.."

Among the skeletons is one of a teen-age girl whom they are proposing might have been from North Africa. There is a video about this find in the above referenced article.

There were another five skeletons who might have moved to the area from the Mediterranean.

I wonder if this was a mercantile area?

What with the African woman in York, the perhaps "Nabatean" soldier or gladiator, and now these skeletons, Roman era England is turning out to be more cosmopolitan than I had expected.

26-09-16, 21:24
Mai du-te fa in pizda ma-tii!

Fire Haired14
26-09-16, 21:34
I wanna know how they know some of the skeletons were Chinese. In the article they state the "Chinese" individuals could have been the descendants of Chinese who made a gradual journey to Britain.

I'm to busy to read the article, can someone post whether it says some individuals were from specifically China instead of just the giant continent of Asia(authors of article might have said they were from China for attention).

Also, about a Chinese individual found in Roman era Italy, I remeber hearing a few years ago they took his mtDNA which confirmed his at least East Asian origin.

27-09-16, 08:52
It is true that after the Roman conquest of Egypt 30 BC trade through the silk road intensified.
However the traded goods changed many hands before arriving in the west.
It is unlikely that Chinese traders themselves came further west than the Ferghana Valley. The Chinese had no real knowledge of what lay beyond that.
The Ferghana Valley was the eastern part of the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom who were allies with the Chinese in their wars with the Xiongnu.

27-09-16, 15:18
What about the "Weilüe" then?


Why would you assume it was written by intermediaries given these finds of East Asians in Roman Era Europe?

I don't see how we can possibly know that.

See also:

27-09-16, 16:55
I didn't know about these texts, but I think the writer got his info from traders who sometimes retold stories of other traders they'd met.

e.g. :

The people (of these countries) are connected to each other. Every 10 li (4.2 km) there is a ting (relay shed or changing place), and every 30 li (12.5 km) there is a zhi (postal station). There are no bandits or thieves, but there are fierce tigers and lions that kill those travelling on the route. If you are not in a group, you cannot get through.

I don't think this is correct.
There was more chance to meet a bandit than a tiger or a lion.
(alltough most bandits and tigers were probably in between empires)