Spectacular Roman amphitheater discovered in Volterra, Tuscany
16 Nov

Spectacular Roman amphitheater discovered in Volterra, Tuscany

The amazing Roman amphitheater recently discovered in Volterra, Tuscany, probably dates back to the first century A.D. 

Archaeologist Elena Sorge of the Tuscan Superintendency tells Discovery News: “It’s puzzling that no historical account records the existence of such an imposing amphitheater. This amphitheater was quite large. Our survey dig revealed three orders of seats that could accommodate about 10,000 people. They were entertained by gladiator fights and wild beasts baiting. Possibly, the amphitheater was abandoned at a certain time and gradually covered by vegetation”.

A ground-penetrating radar conducted by researchers of the University of Genoa indicates that much of the amphitheater is under 20 to 32 feet of dirt. The construction is oval-shaped like the famous Coliseum in Rome, made completely of stone and decorated in the Volterra stone “panchino”, in the same manner as the nearby theater, and is imposing - to say the least. Of Roman heritage, the amphitheater was basically hidden in plain view in the beautiful Tuscan city and is bound to become, according to Discovery News, “the most important Roman amphitheater finding over the last century”.

The structure is located only a mile away from another Roman theater and might measure 262 feet by 196 feet. So far, researchers have discovered “a large sculpted stone and the vaulted entrance to a covered passageway”. It is possible that gladiators would use that passage to enter the arena.

The excavation work to bring the amphitheater to the surface could last for another three years.

“The finding sheds a new light on the history of Volterra, which is most famous for its Etruscan legacy. It shows that during the emperor Augustus’ rule, it was an important Roman center”, states Sorge, “We are hoping to find more sponsors and funding to excavate this wonder”.

Picture: the amphitheater (source Discovery News).