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Roman amphitheater discovered in Kaiseraugst

A previously completely unknown monument was uncovered during construction work in the canton of Aargau. The age of the building surprised even the experts.

The wall of the amphitheater is clearly visible from the air.

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Nile.

Actually, the builders in Kaiseraugst only wanted to build a new boathouse for the Basel rowing club. But at the beginning of December they made a surprising find while working. The cantonal archaeologists who accompanied the construction uncovered an oval ring of walls. The construction project affected a Roman quarry. But one did not expect to find walls.

The function of the oval wall ring was initially unclear. Only in the course of the excavation did the thesis become substantiated: It is a Roman amphitheater. The canton of Aargau announced this in a media release on Wednesday.

Accordingly, the complex is around 50 meters long and 40 meters wide and is located immediately west of Kaiseraugst Castle, the Castrum Rauracense. A large gate was uncovered to the south of the complex, which was flanked on both sides by two side entrances. The threshold made of sandstone blocks from the western side entrance was still preserved. On the west side of the complex there was another entrance to the arena, again with a large sandstone threshold.

The inside of the arena wall was plastered. The grandstands consisted of a wooden construction, from which the imprint of a wooden post could still be proven.

The newly discovered amphitheater is located directly on the banks of the Rhine.

The newly discovered amphitheater is located directly on the banks of the Rhine.

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The function of the found walls was initially unclear.  Here you can see the threshold of a side entrance.

The function of the found walls was initially unclear. Here you can see the threshold of a side entrance.

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The walls were plastered on the inside.

The walls were plastered on the inside.

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Due to the building materials used, the finds and the fact that it was built in an abandoned quarry, it dates to late antiquity, probably to the 4th century AD. This makes it the youngest known amphitheater in the Roman Empire.

The monument underlines the importance of the Castrum Rauracense in the 4th century AD, according to the statement. The fort was an important settlement with a military function on the Roman border, but was also an administrative center.

The Roman city of Augusta Raurica, the archaeological site of the Roman city of Augusta Raurica and the late antique Castrum Rauracense, form a unit. Today the site extends to both the Aargau and the Basel area.

Rare find

The Kaiseraugst amphitheater is the second amphitheater in the canton of Aargau after the one in Vindonissa (Windisch). It is the third such monument in the Roman town of Augusta Raurica. Eight such buildings are now known throughout Switzerland.

In addition to Vindonissa and Augusta Raurica, there is an amphitheater in Avenches (Aventicum), Martigny (Forum Claudii Vallensium), Nyon (Colonia Iulia Equestris) and on the Enge peninsula in Bern (Brenodurum). In Roman times, games such as gladiator fights and animal hunts were presented in the arenas, which were very popular at the time.

The building project that discovered the amphitheater in the first place was adapted to keep the amphitheater in the ground. The archaeological substance is protected by a embankment so that it will be preserved for the future.

source site-111