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The Mystery of Rome’s X Tombs

The Mystery of Rome’s X Tombs

Sun Jul 28, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Phil Harrison
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If Inspector of Catacombs isn’t among the coolest job titles in the world, we’d like to know what is. Dr Raffaella Giuliani carries out this presumably essential role in Rome where she chanced, one day, upon what looked very much like a vast underground ossuary. The find did suggest a certain laxity on the part of her predecessors. But it was also hugely interesting to archeologists and historians the world over. Who where these people? And how did they die?

This documentary sees Dr Michael Scott from the University of Warwick making the trip to Rome to poke around in the remains. It’s diverting if slightly generic fare with plenty to tell us about both the past and the future. Certainly, the later stages of the film suggest that DNA and genome mapping technology might be about to revolutionise this field for good.
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