Archive for March 3, 2015

The wall of the arena seen from the observation gallery

The wall of the arena seen from the observation gallery

It had been long known that London had an amphitheatre but its location was unknown and it was not until the building of the Guidhall art gallery in 1988 that archaeologists discovered a semi-circular piece of wall linked to a corridor that could only be part of the missing amphitheatre.

Plan of the remains visible under the Guildhall Art Gallery

Plan of the remains visible under the Guildhall Art Gallery

An artist's impression of how the amphitheatre would have looked in 120AD

An artist’s impression of how the amphitheatre would have looked in 120AD

Gladitorial games were first recorded in Rome in 264 BC and amphitheatres were built across the empire. The games reached their peak in the 1st and 2nd centuries. The London amphitheatre is believed to have been built around 75AD and refurbished about 40 years later. It probably held around 6000 people (The population of London at the time was 20-30,000). This is astounding as the modern equivalent would be a stadium seating 2-3 million people and this size relative to population speaks to the popularity of the games amongst all strata of society.

The arena wall with illustration on wall behind of what it would have looked like.

The arena wall with illustration on wall behind of what it would have looked like.

Guard room or holding room for animals at entrance to arena

Guard room or holding room for animals at entrance to arena

Highest wall still standing forms part of corridor into arena

Highest wall still standing forms part of corridor into arena