After more than a hundred years of searching by archaeologists, London’s Roman Amphitheatre was finally rediscovered in 1988 hidden beneath Guildhall Yard.
It was a quite surprising discovery as the amphitheatre was found within the old Roman city walls, whereas the majority of ancient amphitheatres were located on the outside.
It was built around AD70 and had a significant makeover in the early 2nd century which increased its capacity to an estimated 6,000 people. It is believed it was used for public events, animal fighting, public executions and, gladiator combat.
After the Romans abandoned Britain in the 4th century, the amphitheatre was then taken down and its materials used for other purposes. This meant it then lay derelict and in ruins for hundreds of years. By the 11th century overcrowding in London meant the area was then back in favour. Buildings were formed near the old amphitheatre albeit simple ones, mainly timber houses of a Viking trade settlement. Over time these buildings gave way to an institution that Londoners are now most familiar with; the first ever Guildhall. The site had once again become the centre of London.