Ruins of ancient arena discovered outside Rome

October 2, 2009
British archaeologists work at the discovered ruins of an arena built early in the third century BC outside Ostia, the ancient imperial port 25 kilometres (16 miles) from Rome.

British archaeologists have discovered the ruins of an arena built early in the third century BC outside Ostia, the ancient imperial port 25 kilometres (16 miles) from Rome, the team leader said Friday.

"Gladiators and wild animals may have fought in this place, but it also may have been used for important meetings, or, because of its proximity to the sea, to stage historical naval battle scenes," Simon Keay told AFP.

Since the small arena, measuring some 1,600 square metres (17,000 square feet), was next to the imperial procurator's palace, "we think it was intended mainly for private use," Keay said.

"More research will be needed to determine its use and the height of the amphitheatre -- which will give us a better understanding of the functioning of the entire port," he added.

The ruins were uncovered in three years of digging by the British team from Southampton and Cambridge Universities in cooperation with the British School at , an archaeological academy.

Italian archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani determined the approximate location of the site in 1868, but more systematic research finally led to its discovery 140 years later.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Archaeologists unearth 'birthplace of Roman emperor' in Italy

Related Stories

Ancient seaside villa found near Rome

April 16, 2006

Workers digging a new sewage system for a coastal resort near Rome found the remains of a second-century villa belonging to two Roman senators.

Ancient ashes found buried in Rome

February 9, 2006

Archeologists have reportedly found the ashes of an ancient chief or priest who lived three centuries before the legendary founding of Rome.

3,000-year-old skeleton found in Rome

May 31, 2006

Italian archaeologists say they have found a well preserved, 3,000-year-old skeleton of a woman during a dig in the Roman Forum in central Rome.

Roman ruin found under Roman palazzo

July 25, 2006

Italian archaeologists say they have discovered the ruins of an ancient Roman official's home buried under a palazzo at the edge of the Roman forum.

Recommended for you

New paper answers causation conundrum

November 17, 2017

In a new paper published in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, SFI Professor Jessica Flack offers a practical answer to one of the most significant, and most confused questions in evolutionary ...

Chance discovery of forgotten 1960s 'preprint' experiment

November 16, 2017

For years, scientists have complained that it can take months or even years for a scientific discovery to be published, because of the slowness of peer review. To cut through this problem, researchers in physics and mathematics ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.