The ring marking out a Roman amphitheatre under City of London’s Guildhall

Running around Guildhall Yard – and partially underneath Guildhall itself – is a black ring inlaid into the paving. This ring outlines a  Roman amphitheatre,  the remains of which were found during major archaeological excavations that took place between 1985 and 1999 as part of a programme of redevelopment at Guildhall.

London’s Guildhall is a Medieval building built in 1411-12 as the centre of City government. It sits on the North side of Guildhall Yard, in The City of London.

City of London's Guildhall

Also in Guildhall Yard are Guildhall Art Gallery (East side); St Lawrence Jewry, a church built by Christopher Wren to replace the 12C church destroyed by the Great Fire of London (South side) and Guildhall Library, a public reference library specialising in the history of London (West side).

All these buildings are sited in the location of the biggest amphitheatre in Britain when Londonium, as it was then, was ruled by the Romans. It was built, used, renovated, and finally abandoned between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.

Overview of Amphitheatre 'ring' as seen on Google maps

Overview of Amphitheatre ‘ring’ as seen on Google maps

You can see remains of the actual amphitheatre underneath Guildhall Art Gallery, but I love how this simple intervention of a black band in the tiles under your feet conjures up so powerfully the long and varied history of the city.

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