Annual Blackden Friends’ lecture to shed light on Roman gladiators

Gladiators, an aspect of Roman culture that still fascinates audiences nearly 2,000 years later, will be the subject of this year’s Friends of The Blackden Trust lecture on Saturday 16th March, 3:00 – 4:30pm.

The annual lecture, presented this year by David Jennings, Chief Executive Officer of the York Archaeological Trust, will be held at Terra Nova School, Jodrell Bank. It will piece together the story of 82 skeletons, many of which are thought to be gladiators, and use them to shed light onto life and death in the Roman arena.

Blackden Trust lecture
David Jennings

The skeletons were discovered in what is believed to be a Roman cemetery in York in 2004 and 2005 and have been the subject of at least three television documentaries

The lecture will explain how the skeletons, overwhelmingly adult males, had numerous injuries, pathological conditions and unusual burial rites. The evidence shows that these people displayed signs of having led a life that physically left its mark on their bodies while also being treated differently at their time of death and burial.

David Jennings explained: “In this talk I will update the latest scientific analysis, revealing the origins of these people, and discuss the evidence which will give the audience the chance to come to their own conclusions on whether these people spent their lives as gladiators.”

One of the organisers of the event, Chair of The Friends of The Blackden Trust Reg Crawford, said: “As well as listening to David’s unique insight into the life of Roman gladiators, the audience will also be able to find out about the wonderful work done by The Friends of The Blackden Trust.”

“It is now more than ten years since the formation of The Friends of the Blackden Trust. We are a non-profit organisation who fundraise and support events in The Old Medicine House and on site in many practical ways, including helping with the programme of guided tours.”

We welcome all those who would like to help to save this special place and share it with people who appreciate it. If anyone feels they have the time and would like to apply to become a member of The Friends of The Blackden Trust, we would be pleased to hear from them.”

There will be refreshments available after the lecture and tickets, which cost £13, can be obtained from the website or the Eventbrite app.  Click the following link to book tickets:

The programme of events for the coming year can be found on the Blackden Trust website:

Winter Blackden
A Wintery Blackden

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