Eighty headless skeletons unearthed between 2004 and 2005 from an ancient English cemetery in the city of York or the then Roman capital Eboracum holds proof that they all lost their heads far away from home.

Archeologists say the burial ground was used by the Romans throughout the second and third centuries A.D. Almost all the bodies were of males with more than half of them had been decapitated, and many were buried with their detached heads.

Eboracum was the Roman Empire's northernmost provincial capital during that period.

Gundula Müldner of the University of Reading in the U.K. after a new study of the bones says the "headless Romans" most likely came from Eastern Europe. The combat scars in their bodies were a proof that they all led violent lives. The new study has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.She also said the Romans had very different body types and some of them were quite exotic.

Müldner's team also analyzed the chemical composition of the bones for clues called isotopes, which are different versions of particular elements. The bones showed traces of isotopes absorbed from the local food and water. The Oxygen and strontium isotopes found in the bones of the headless Romans indicate that just 5 of the 18 individuals tested came from the York area.

The rest of the men came from some other part of England or possibly from France, Germany, the Balkans, or the Mediterranean.

Traces of carbon and nitrogen show that five headless Romans ate very different food than the people of York. A carbon signature of plants such as sorghum, sugarcane, and maize—not known to have been cultivated in England at that time were found from two skeletons. Millet was the only food plant being grown anywhere in mainland Europe at that time, Müldner added.

The Romans were not very fond of millet and would prefer wheat when they were at a new province. The archeologists think that the headless millet-eaters hailed from colder climates probably came from Eastern Europe, beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.

Previous theories on the skeletons suggests that the headless Romans were slain soldiers, imported gladiators, executed citizens, or ritually killed victims of some religious cult. But the archeologists of the new study feel that the Romans were most probably soldiers who were executed, because of the skeletons that bear injuries of an armed combat.

Other recent research on the skeletons suggested the headless Romans were gladiators who could have been brought to the distant capital for entertainment purpose.