Newly Discovered Amphitheatre at Roman Port City Described as “Mini Coliseum”

Marble Head Discovered at Portus

Marble Head Discovered at Portus

Do you remember the scene from the movie Gladiator when Maximus and his fellow gladiatori enter Rome and first lay eyes upon the Coliseum?  “Have you ever seen anything like that before?,” says one.  “I didn’t know men could build such things,” says another.

Well, apparently archaeologists working on the University of Southampton’s dig at the site of the former Roman city of Portus are similarly awestruck by remains they have uncovered this summer — which include those of an amphitheatre they are describing as a sort of miniature Coliseum.

Portus was the chief port of imperial Rome.  Besides the amphitheatre, findings have also included a remarkable marble head, thought possibly to be a representation of Ulysses, and the ruins of an imperial palace.  Ground penetrating radar and other technologies have been used to probe the site and produce a “virtual reconstruction.”

You can read more details on the excavations at the University of Southampton’s Portus Project webpage, and you’ll find additional links which may be of interest here and here

If you’d like to read more about the ancient Romans, try some of these titles from Greensboro Public Library:  Cleopatra and Antony:  Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World by Diana Preston; A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela; Working IX to V:  Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vicki Leon; Rome and Jerusalem:  The Clash of Ancient Civilizations by Martin Goodman; Greece and Rome at War by Peter Connolly; The Assassination of Julius Caesar:  A People’s History of Ancient Rome by Michael Parenti; The Romans:  From Village to Empire by Mary T. Boatwright, Daniel J. Gargola, and Richard J.A. Talbert; The Gladiator:  The Secret History of Rome’s Warrior Slaves by Alan Baker; Ancient Rome by Timothy R. Roberts; Ghosts of Vesuvius:  A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections by Charles Pellegrino; Pompeii:  The Living City by Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence; and The Visible Past:  Greek and Roman History from Archaeology, 1960-1990 by Michael Grant.

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