The Romans In LondonLondon Grid for Learning

The amphitheatre was first built of wood but certain parts, like the arena wall, were later rebuilt in stone. The wooden seating around the oval arena would have given a good view to all the spectators who reached their seats by stairs on the outside of the amphitheatre. It probably held about 6000 people. The arena consisted of layers of sand to make it softer to land on and easier to clear up.

There were two ceremonial entranceways which were long tunnels that led into the arena. Each of these would have had waiting rooms where those taking part in events would have waited their turn. There would have been such shows as wild animal fights, acrobats, boxers and musical events paid for by rich sponsors. Even the public execution of criminals was regarded as entertainment and would have taken place in the arena. It must have been a very special occasion when the touring band of gladiators came to town.

Recreation in Roman London continues on the next page...