Photo Gallery Gladiator School Found Near Vienna

Just 40 kilometers outside Vienna experts have found a well-preserved gladiator school at the site of a former Roman outpost. But the site remains underground. Modern radar techniques have detailed the find, shown here in graphic simulations.
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The facility in what was then the Roman Empire's outpost of Carnuntum is likely the best-preserved of its kind, comparable to gladiator schools found in Rome and Pompeii. Still, no plans are in place for excavations to begin. Officials are trying to agree on how to best preserve the site first.

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"We know what is under the ground," says Franz Humer, head of the Carnuntum Archeological Park told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "We can wait." The non-invasive radar technology provided by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology enabled them to detail the structures without undertaking a costly and lengthy dig.

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Gladiators were probably a popular form of entertainment in the Roman military and trading outpost in the third century. The city of 50,000 had two ampitheaters, one right next to the school.

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In the center of the facility experts have pinpointed a circular training area surrounded by wooden bleachers for spectators.

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A bathing facility has also been located on the grounds, which include some 40 tiny cells for the gladiators.

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Carnuntum was along the ancient Amber Road trade route, and an important outpost for the Romans.

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Visitors can now visit the site at the Carnuntum Archeological Park, where experts continue to unearth evidence of the city's past.

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Another key detail discovered by the radar shows that many of the gladiators probably died pursuing glory. "Particularly exciting is a field of graves we've found right near the school that set apart from the regular graveyard a bit," Humer says. "It is possible that we actually have a gladiator cemetery here."

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Many gladiators were criminals or prisoners of war who shared the status of slaves. But despite their lowly position, gladiators often gained celebrity status for their brave feats on the field, and were particularly popular with the ladies. Further evidence of this adoration has been found in the special cemetery, which is furnished with elaborate tombs when compared to the more modest burial plots in the neighboring graveyard.

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