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Sometime around A.D. 256, forces of the powerful, expanding Sasanian Empire laid siege to the Roman fortress. They dug tunnels to undermine the city’s outer wall, while the Romans excavated countermines to intercept them. Reexamining the site as if it were a crime scene, James noted that the bodies of the soldiers had been deliberately stacked where the Roman and Sasanian tunnels met. The Sasanians had apparently used their enemies’ bodies as a barricade, behind which they could light a fire to collapse the tunnels and bring down the wall. But how had the Persians killed so many Roman soldiers in such a dark, confined space? “The Persians would have heard the Roman counterminers and, I believe, prepared a deadly surprise for them,” says James



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