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Greenlit: The Mystery of Rome’s X Tombs, BBC2

The Mystery Of Rome’s X Tombs w/t (1 x 60′) Historian Dr Michael Scott unlocks the secrets of a mysterious tomb recently discovered in one of Rome’s famous catacombs.

Found by accident following a roof collapse, the tombs contained over 2000 skeletons piled on top of each other. This was quite unlike any other underground tomb seen in Rome. They are located in an area of the catacombs marked as “X” in the Vatican’s underground mapping system; hence the name the “X” Tombs.

Michael Scott joins experts called in by the Vatican, comprising of a team of French archaeologists who have experience of investigating mass grave sites who are unearthing clues to identify the people; as well as a DNA expert and palaeo-geneticist who uses a cutting edge technique called DNA Hybridisation Capture to identify what may have killed them.

Evidence points to waves of mass death occurring from the late 1st century AD to early 3rd century AD and the remains of a Medieval fresco suggest they could be Christian martyrs, but the bones reveal no sign of physical trauma. Further investigation suggests cultural connections with Northern Africa. Was this a wealthy immigrant community? Or a select group of Ancient Rome’s elite?

Scott pieces together the wealth of information uncovered by the teams in an attempt to reveal just who these men and women were and how they died.

Channel: BBC2

Producer: BBC

TX: TBC

Source: BBC press release

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