Archaeologists working at the "Archaeological Park Carnuntum" in lower Austria claim to have located and excavated a huge amphitheatre used to train gladiators.
The Associated Press has reported that the ruins, which archaeologists are describing as "a sensational discovery", were located through the use of ground radar measurements. These measurements indicated that in size and structure the ruins rival both the Ludus Magnus, the largest gladiatorial arena in Rome, and the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire. More detailed information has yet to be released, but since the Colosseum had a capacity large enough for 50,000 spectators it can be assumed that this amphitheatre is of a similar size.
Carnuntum lies 60 kilometers (35 miles) east of Vienna and enjoyed fairly important status, albeit for a relatively brief time, under the Roman Empire. After the legio XV Apollinaris erected a military camp there sometime between 35-40 AD, it began to grow in status, eventually being made capital of the province of Upper Pannonia. It was visited by many emperors, several of whom used it as their military headquarters when fighting against neighbouring peoples, and it was even the location of the Emperors' Conference on 11 November 308 AD in which Diocletian, Galerius and Maximian attempted to save the tetrarchy. Following the withdrawal of the Romans from the start of the fifth century however the settlement fell into obscurity.
A statement made on Tuesday by the Carnuntum archaeological park gave no indication as to when the find was located and excavated, although presumably it was discovered some time ago if excavations have already taken place. The site will be presented to the media on Monday.