Monday, July 4, 2016
The Discovery of a Roman Gladiator School Brings the Famed Fighters Back to Life
Located in Austria, the archaeological site is providing rich new details about the lives and deaths of the arena combatants
Woolfgang Neubauer stands in the grassy clearing and watches a drone soar low over distant stands of birch and white poplar, the leaves still speckled with overnight rain. Vast fields of wheat roll away north and south under a huge dome of sky. “I’m interested in what lies hidden beneath this landscape,” says the Austrian archaeologist. “I hunt for structures now invisible to the human eye.”
On the edge of the meadow, two boys stand a long way apart, arms clenched by their sides, punting a soccer ball very slowly and carefully from one to the other. Neubauer studies them keenly. A professor at the Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science, he’s an authority on the first games played on this ersatz pitch, a blood sport popular a couple of millennia ago. “You see a field,” he tells a visitor from the United States. “I see a gladiator school.”
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