Ruins of Roman gladiator school found in Austria

A virtual video of the former Roman gladiator school that was found by underground radar is provided by the Ludwig Bolzmann institute for archaeology State-of-the-art technology enabled archaeologists to visualise the school before excavations

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Archaeologists in Austria say they have discovered a large, well preserved school for Roman gladiators.

The remains of the school, at a site east of the modern capital, Vienna, were found using radar imagery.

The school was part of a Roman city which was an important military and trade outpost 17 centuries ago.

Though excavations have yet to begin, the radar images show thick walls surrounding the compound which contained 40 small cells for fighters.

There is also a training area and a large bathing area in the Carnuntum ruins.

Outside the walls, radar scans show what archaeologists believe was a cemetery for those killed during training.

'Barracks and prison'

"[This is] a world sensation, in the true meaning of the word," said Lower Austrian provincial governor Erwin Proell.

The school is part of a city thought to have been home to some 50,000 people that flourished 1,700 years ago.

The city was a major military and trade outpost linking the far-flung Roman empire's Asian boundaries to its central and northern European lands.

Officials have said that in structure the discovery rivals the famous Ludus Magnus, the largest of the gladiatorial training schools in Rome.

One of the distinctive parts of the ruins is a thick wooden post in the middle of the training area which was used by gladiators as a practice enemy.

The Roemisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum said the three-dimensional images of the school reveal it to have been a mixture of a barracks and a prison.

The gladiators, the museum says, were often convicted criminals or prisoners-of-war, and almost always slaves.

Experts have not yet set a date for beginning excavations of the gladiator school, saying they need time to settle on a plan that conserves as much as possible.

The school sits on a site so large that less than one percent of it has been excavated, though digging began originally around 1870.

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