Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Archaeologists Uncover Amphitheater at Portus

The London Times reports that archaeologists have unearthed a private amphitheater for the emperor at Portus, a site near Rome's Fiumicino airport.

This is the first time that a large-scale dig has taken place at the site, known as Portus, which was discovered in the 16th century and excavated in the 1860s. Now two miles inland, it would have been twice the size of the port of Southampton and an important gateway between Rome and the Mediterranean. It is possible that it was frequented by 2nd-century emperors.

British excavators, including staff from the University of Cambridge and the British School at Rome, said that the amphitheatre was likely to have been built for the private entertainment of a senior statesman or emperor and could have held up to 2,000 spectators.

Professor Simon Keay, the project director, said: “[The amphitheatre’s] design, using luxurious materials and substantial colonnades, suggests it was used by a high-status official, possibly even the emperor himself.

They also found the toilet there.

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