Gladiators fought in Roman Britain, action-packed burial urn sculptures reveal

The Colchester Vase, made around 175 AD, on display at Colchester Castle Museum in the UK (Image credit: Carole Raddato; (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Vivid depictions of gladiators fighting on a clay vase are the first concrete evidence these fighters fought in Roman Britain, according to new research.

The vessel, known as the Colchester Vase, is well known to scholars; it was discovered in a Roman-era tomb in Britain in 1853 and contains the cremated remains of a person. However, nothing was known of the deceased, and it was unclear whether the vase was made locally or in mainland Europe, where gladiator fights were known to entertain audiences in the Roman Empire.

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