Gladiators at the Guildhall: the story of London’s Roman amphitheatre and medieval Guildhall

2000

Nick Bateman

£5.99

For over a hundred years people had searched for the Roman amphitheatre of London. In 1988, during a dig at the City's medieval Guildhall, the astonishing discovery was made. The curving stone walls of the arena and timber beams for the seating tiers confirmed that the gladiators' place of spectacle – lost for over 1500 years – had finally been found. The amphitheatre lay abandoned for centuries until – when little more than a hollow in the landscape – it became the site of a Viking trading settlement. The dig revealed some of the most complete remains of 11th-century timber houses to be found anywhere in Europe, showing how London thrived under King Cnut and the Danes. These simple buildings gave way to the first Guildhall, which evolved into a complex building at the political and economic heart of the medieval City. Gladiators at the Guildhall tells a tale of archaeological discovery, and of a place which resounds with the clash of Roman gladiators, the clamour of Vikings bartering with merchants from Byzantium, and the chanting of medieval priests as Dick Whittington is elected mayor for the third time.

Popular Books

MoLAS, London 2000. ISBN 1-901992-19-5. Pb96pp. 250 col ills.

Reviews

"This book is aimed squarely at the popular end of the market, though it will certainly provide an informative read for any student of London’s history … This book is a welcome addition to the to the corpus of books on London’s history and I am certain that its glossy finish, lively presentation and remarkable subject matter will ensure a wide readership for many years to come."
Simon O’Connor Thompson in London Archaeologist Summer 2001

"It is beautifully illustrated and provides a fascinating account of the excavation of an extremely complex site, and one which provides remarkable insights into different periods of the history of London."
Rosalind Niblett in British Archaeology August 2001

"This book is a welcome addition to the corpus of books on London’s history and I am certain that its glossy finish, lively presentation and remarkable subject matter will ensure a wide readership for many years to come."
Gustav Milne in London Archaeologist Summer 2001