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.
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