Gladiatorial games, the bloodiest of ancient Rome's traditions,
were probably held in the heart of genteel Cheshire, archaeologists
Experts have unearthed evidence in the remains of Chester
Amphitheatre which suggests that gladiators appeared there.
It was previously thought that the large arena near the modern Welsh border
had only been used for ceremonial
But archaeologists have found a stone block with iron fastening,
suggesting that victims - human or animal - were chained up for
Two similar blocks were found in the northern half of the arena,
which is one of Britain's largest Roman amphitheatres, in the 1960s.
Experts believe the latest found in the centre is significant
because it forms a row of anchor points along the axis of the arena
for chaining victims.
Dan Garner, an archaeologist with Chester City Council, said:
"Up to now, we have found human and animal remains to suggest that
gladiatorial games may have taken place, but the discovery of the
third chain block puts that suggestion almost beyond doubt.