Gladiator School

Financed by the Province of Lower Austria, an international research team from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI-ArchPro) made a sensational discovery in 2011: a unique Roman building complex in Carnuntum’s ancient Civilian City revealed itself a gladiator school (ludus). The building dating back to the 4th century covered 2,800 square metres and offered room for 40 to 60 gladiators. At its centre lay a courtyard with a wooden practice arena and an inner diameter of 14 metres. Two L-shaped tracts surrounding the courtyard contained the gladiators’ cells, each with an average size of five square metres. The gladiator school boasted a large training hall with underfloor heating, extensive bathing facilities as well as a large meeting or dining-room. Next to the entrance administrative offices and the living quarters of the gladiator school’s owner (lanista) were situated.

Following the initial examination by geophysical methods, excavations of two specified areas were carried out in June 2014. Subsequently, the ludus’ wooden training arena was reconstructed at its original location with the help of archaeologists, architects and historians. This most recent reconstruction served as a set for the international film production “Carnuntum – City of Gladiators” shot in 2015.

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