Scientists Study Colosseum's "Special Effects"

A team of German archaeologists has been excavating the basement of Rome's great Colosseum, including the intricate mechanical wonders which produced the effects for the gladiatorial games. "The Colosseum in Rome was as sophisticated as a modern stage set, according to archaeologists who have calculated how an intricate system of gangplanks, trapdoors and levers was used to bring wild animals into the arena."

This is the conclusion of a team of archaeologists who have been excavating and studying the wonders beneath the monument's floor. Pulleys and ropes allowed doors to be opened at split-second intervals and cages to rise "magically" to ground level.

The eight-year study has also uncovered a maze of gladiatorial schools, storerooms, weapons and props, all part of the effort to make shows ever more spectacular.

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