Ancient snack fragments, coins, and other artifacts have been found by archaeologists digging beneath the Colosseum in Rome, painting a vivid image of what it was like to attend a matinée there.
Alfonsina Russo, the director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, unveiled the cache in the Curia Julia senate house of the Roman Forum on Thursday. She noted that it demonstrates the “experience and habits of those who came to this place during the long days dedicated to the performances.” Lead archaeologist for the Colosseum Federica Rinaldi told Artnet News that the findings would be published in 2023.
In January 2021, a group of archaeologists working with the neighborhood NGO Roma Sotterranea (Underground Rome) started researching around 230 feet of mucky drains and sewers under the Colosseum. They aimed to learn more about the hydraulic systems that the Colosseum’s show producers used to flood its tunnels and create water spectacles with the help of the requisite wire-guided robot navigation.
Since the southern sewer contained a lot of dirt and ancient artifacts, we particularly wanted to excavate it, according to Rinaldi.
The researchers discovered peach, fig, grape, blackberry, and cherry seeds while searching the Colosseum’s sewers. These seeds were probably dumped beneath the grandstands while the venue’s typical crowd of 65,000 spectators munched during performances.
Those visitors also left behind 53 bronze coins from Rome’s late Imperial period, which were discovered during this most recent exploration (250–450 C.E.). A rare orichalcum sestertius coin, struck between 170 and 171 C.E. to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Marcus Aurelius’ accession to power, was also found by archaeologists.Big cat and bear bones found during the search were probably from animals that were made to fight as the guests munched on their concessions. Dog-related smaller animal bones were also discovered, according to the BBC. Additionally, the crew discovered bone gaming dice, a bone pin, and clothing fragments including shoe nails, leather, and studs.
Surprises from history abound as well. We found that the southern collector carried water from the Colosseum outdoors to a very old sewer that had been utilized previously, first by Emperor Nero and subsequently by the Flavian emperors. Rinaldi said this. This finding is significant since it clarifies Roman engineering’s effectiveness in reusing preexisting infrastructure.
Overall, despite the fact that savage lions and gladiators predominate in popular depictions of the Colosseum’s glory days, these findings suggest that the lost and found was likely just as important.Watch the video below: