Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Exhibition reveals hidden history of Colosseum after the fall of Rome, from medieval fortresses to slaughterhouses
An artist's impression of the timber walkway used by soldiers guarding the medieval fortress that was built into the side of the Colosseum CREDIT: COLOSSEUM EXHIBITION
Archaeologists in Rome have discovered the remains of a timber walkway used by soldiers guarding a fortress built into the remains of the Colosseum during the Middle Ages.
Gladiatorial contests and other spectacles held in the massive amphitheatre ground to a halt by the sixth century AD with the collapse of the Roman Empire and the arena was gradually appropriated for other uses in succeeding centuries.
By the 12th century a powerful baronial family, the Frangipane, had commandeered the Colosseum and built a formidable fortress into its southern flank. The walkway was built on the top tier of the amphitheatre, enabling the clan’s soldiers to watch out for enemy forces. The Frangipane were at war with another family of Roman nobles, the Annibaldi.