Spectators at the Colosseum, Rome’s ancient gladiatorial arena, may have enjoyed snacks of olives, fruit and nuts, archaeologists have discovered, according to the BBC.
Food fragments of figs, grapes, cherries, blackberries, walnuts and others were discovered at the site.
Archaeologists have also found bones of bears and big cats, which were probably used in the arena games.
The discoveries were made by archaeologists who examined the canals of the 2,000-year-old monument.
One of the most visited tourist attractions in Italy
Relics like these provide a picture of “the experience and habits of those who came to this place during the long days dedicated to the shows,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park.
Researchers say the bones from bears, lions and jaguars were likely left by animals that were forced to fight each other and gladiators for entertainment. Bones of smaller animals, belonging to some dogs, were also found.
The study began in January 2021 and involved cleaning around 70m of drains and sewers under the Colosseum, which remains one of Italy’s most visited tourist attractions.
Specialist architects and archaeologists used cable-guided robots to navigate the arena’s complex drainage system – helping them understand everyday life in Rome as well as the ancient structures.
The Colosseum, the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire
The Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, falling into disuse around AD 523. It was famous for hosting gladiator fights and other public spectacles in front of crowds of tens of thousands.
Ancient coins were also discovered during the excavations, including 50 bronze coins dating from the late Roman period (AD 250-450) and a commemorative silver coin from around AD 170-171. which celebrates 10 years of the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.