New publication on Chester’s amphitheatre

Archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester’s Cultural Service are pleased to announce the publication of The Roman Amphitheatre of Chester Volume 1: The Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology.

The amphitheatre and fortress, looking from the east. (Reconstruction by Julian Baum)
The amphitheatre and fortress, looking from the east. (Reconstruction by Julian Baum)


This is the first of two volumes dealing with the major research excavations on Chester’s amphitheatre which took place between 2004 and 2006, funded by English Heritage and Chester City Council. We know that the first amphitheatre was built in the 70s AD. It had a stone outer wall with external stairs and timber-framed seating but more fascinating is the fact that the second amphitheatre was built around the first. The second amphitheatre, probably built in the later second century, was the largest and most impressive amphitheatre in Britain, featuring elaborate entrances, internal stairs and decorative pilasters on the outer wall. Beneath the seating banks evidence for prehistoric settlement was recovered – the first substantial prehistoric archaeology to be found anywhere in Chester.

We are now working on Volume 2, which will deal with the robbing and reuse of the amphitheatre after the Romans, and the development of the medieval and post-medieval urban landscape of the site.

Volume 1 can be ordered from Oxbow Books.