Asian skeleton found in ruins suggests Roman Empire larger than thought

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Archeologists have discovered the 2,000-year-old skeleton of an Asian man in an ancient cemetery in Italy, suggesting that the Roman Empire's reach was far more extensive than previously thought.

Although the Romans are known to have traded for silk and exotic spices with China, it was thought that most of the commerce was conducted through intermediaries along the Silk Route and that no Chinese or other Asians entered the empire itself.

But that orthodoxy will now have to be re-examined after a team of Canadian archaeologists conducted DNA analysis on the man's bones and found that he came from East Asia.

The skeleton was excavated from a cemetery which formed part of an imperial Roman estate at Vagnari, in the province Puglia, which forms the heel of the Italian boot.

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