Its gory past as an arena for gladiatorial battles and gruesome public executions is well known, but archaeologists have discovered that the Colosseum later fulfilled a very different role - as a bustling medieval bazaar full of houses, stables and workshops.
Archaeologists have found the foundations of homes, terracotta sewage pipes and shards of crockery [Credit Gabrielli / Toiati]
As the glory of Rome faded and the empire crumbled in the face of barbarian invasions in the fifth century, the giant arena was colonised by ordinary Romans, who constructed dwellings and shops within its massive stone walls.
Archaeologists have dug beneath some of the 80 arched entrances that lead into the Colosseum and have found the foundations of homes, terracotta sewage pipes and shards of crockery, dating from the ninth century AD.
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