Although there is technically no statute of limitations on murder, murderers do slip beyond the reach of human law. Through the march of the ages, the tides of time sweep over the victim’s grave, his killer, his family’s grief, and ultimately, even the local civil authority responsible for meting out punishment.
Still, as Miguel de Cervantes observed, murder will out. Archaeologists digging at the site of a Roman farm in the village of Sedgeford in Norfolk, England have uncovered evidence of an ancient homicide. A human skeleton found inside a Roman corn-drier is all that remains of an unfortunate person who, alive or dead, was shoved into the drier and apparently set on fire about 1,500 years ago.
The most we can reasonably hope to find out about this ancient murder victim is the age, the sex, and possibly the cause of death and how long the bones have lain hidden. Unless archaeologists turn up more evidence when the digging season resumes next year, we will probably never know the victim’s identity. Still less can we hope to know the identity of the killer who escaped earthly justice...only to answer to a higher and more terrible tribunal.