Deep beneath the remains of what was once the ancient Roman city of Itálica in Spain, experts recently discovered something unusual.
Geophysical studies conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the University of Seville revealed evidence of an ancient circus — a stadium-like venue used for chariot races — according to a Sept. 4 news release from officials with the Regional Government of Andalusia.
The huge building was about the size of eight soccer fields and could fit about 80,000 patrons, officials said. Experts used their surveys to construct a possible recreation of the structure, including stands surrounding a racing area and “carceres,” the stalls that hold horses before a race.
Researchers said the circus was about 1,750 feet long and between approximately 460 feet and 510 feet wide. The stands sat atop a foundation created from a concrete slab measuring nearly 100 feet long and 20 feet deep, resembling the foundations of other notable amphitheaters and temples.
Representations of such a circus have been identified in pieces of art throughout history, but experts have not yet identified the location of the building, officials said. The latest surveys could finally provide researchers with clarity.
Officials said they used georadar profiles and electrical resistivity tomography to inject current into the ground, measuring resistance from structures underground. This allows experts to get a digital view of what lies beneath the soil — in this case the remains of the ancient circus.
Further research will seek to confirm the building’s existence, according to officials.
Seville is about 240 miles southwest of Madrid.
Google Translate was used to translate a news release from the Regional Government of Andalusia.