Rare Evidence Found of a 2,000-Year-Old Roman Crucifixion

While it’s debatable whether it’s the cruelest or most painful form of execution, there’s no doubt that crucifixion is by far the most famous way to die at the hands of the state. While the biblical account goes into great detail with its description, as do other historical accounts of the brutal practices of the Romans, there is no proven physical evidence of that or any other crucifixion using nails to affix the condemned person’s hands or feet to a wooden cross, save for one. Until now.

“We found a particular lesion on the foot of a skeleton from an isolated Roman burial discovered by excavation in 2007 in northern Italy. Here we suggest crucifixion as a possible cause of the lesion, but this interpretation is complicated by the poor preservation of the bone surfaces and the damage and holes in other skeletal parts.”

In a new study published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, researchers from the universities of Ferrara and Florence in Italy discuss their analysis of the remains of a male found in Gavello, a small town in the Province of Rovigo about 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Venice. According to the Times of Israel, the corpse had been placed in the grave on his back “with the upper limbs at his side and the lower limbs outstretched” – a possible sign, along with the lack of any funeral artifacts, that this was an unusual death. The bones indicated the man died between the ages of 30 and 34, but they were too deteriorated for radiocarbon dating. However, nearby brick and tile pieces placed his death at about 2,000 years ago……