Migration and diversity in Roman Britain: A multidisciplinary approach to the identification of immigrants in Roman York, England
Article first published online: 15 JUN 2009
Copyright © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 140, Issue 3, pages 546–561, November 2009
How to Cite
Leach, S., Lewis, M., Chenery, C., Müldner, G. and Eckardt, H. (2009), Migration and diversity in Roman Britain: A multidisciplinary approach to the identification of immigrants in Roman York, England. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 140: 546–561. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21104
- Issue published online: 6 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 15 JUN 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 APR 2009
- Manuscript Received: 17 DEC 2008
- AHRC. Grant Number: AH/E58758 (“Diasporas, migrations and identities” research programme)
- FORDISC 3.0;
- chemical analysis
Previous anthropological investigations at Trentholme Drive, in Roman York identified an unusual amount of cranial variation amongst the inhabitants, with some individuals suggested as having originated from the Middle East or North Africa. The current study investigates the validity of this assessment using modern anthropological methods to assess cranial variation in two groups: The Railway and Trentholme Drive. Strontium and oxygen isotope evidence derived from the dentition of 43 of these individuals was combined with the craniometric data to provide information on possible levels of migration and the range of homelands that may be represented. The results of the craniometric analysis indicated that the majority of the York population had European origins, but that 11% of the Trentholme Drive and 12% of The Railway study samples were likely of African decent. Oxygen analysis identified four incomers, three from areas warmer than the UK and one from a cooler or more continental climate. Although based on a relatively small sample of the overall population at York, this multidisciplinary approach made it possible to identify incomers, both men and women, from across the Empire. Evidence for possible second generation migrants was also suggested. The results confirm the presence of a heterogeneous population resident in York and highlight the diversity, rather than the uniformity, of the population in Roman Britain. Am J Phys Anthropol 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.