1909 excavations revealed that the structure
of the buried amphitheatre was sound enough to withstand the elements
if left uncovered. In 1926, funds were made available by the Daily
Mail newspaper and the Loyal Knights of the Round Table of America
for such a project. Nearly thirty thousand tons of soil was excavated,
examined and carried away. This at a cost of just under ten pence
VE Nash Williams supervised the first six weeks of the excavation,
Mr JNL Myers the following four months and Mrs T V Wheeler the
remaining eight months. The site was then handed over to the Office
of Works for preservation as a national monument.
1. The arena is oval - longer axis 56m, shorter axis 41.5m. It
was originally (as now) below the outside ground level.
arena wall rose to just under 4m above the arena and was covered
with a smooth cement rendering.
external wall was just under 2m thick with buttresses every 3m
4. A bank
of earth between these inner and outer walls supported the wooden
seating. When the excavations were complete the soil was left
at the original Roman level.
was seating for 6000 spectators. The entire legion plus visitors.
were eight entrances. The two larger entrances served the arena
and did not give access to the seating.
7. It is
thought that the amphitheatre was built around 90 AD.
reconstruction work took place in 125AD and 212AD.