VIP “seats” found in ancient amphitheater in Izmir, Turkey
Archaeologists have discovered private seats with names engraved on them during excavations in an 1,800-year-old amphitheater in the ancient city of Pergamon, in the province of Izmir, western Turkey.
Excavations have continued at the Pergamon Amphitheater – an attraction in the archaeological world because of its resemblance to the iconic Colosseum in Rome – since 2018.
The new findings were made during the research part of the TransPergMicro project conducted by the German Archaeological Institute and the Architectural Institute of the Technical University of Berlin, under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The amphitheater is known to have hosted gladiatorial and animal fights in the 2nd century, in addition to being a site of executions and reenactments of naval battles.
The VIP areas that can be found now are similar to modern lodges in sports stadiums and entertainment venues.
Built in Roman times, the Pergamon Amphitheater had a very large arena to give it an edge over other ancient cities in the region such as Ephesus and Smyrna, said Felix Pirson, director of the German Archaeological Institute, at the Anadolu Agency (AA).
“They wanted to build here a replica of the Colosseum, which was frequented by all segments of society. But people of the upper class or important families had private seats in special sections with their names engraved on them, ”he said.
“Another detail that caught our attention was that Latin names were written in Greek letters. We believe that some people from Italy had a special place in the Pergamon Amphitheater.
Pirson said the new finds will be on display at the Bergama Museum in Izmir, adding that excavation work in the area will be completed this year.
The teams have so far found five private seats in the Pergamon Amphitheater, according to Ihsan Yeneroglu, a researcher at the Technical University of Berlin.
While efforts are still underway to determine the exact size and number, researchers believe the capacity could be at least 25,000 and go up to 50,000.