Lion Elevator Restored at Rome's Gladiator Colosseum

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By Claudio Lavanga

ROME, Italy – An ancient elevator that carried lions and other animals into Rome’s Colosseum for fights with gladiators has been restored by experts.

The manually-operated hoist was used to raise wild animals into the amphitheater in the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D.

Restoration of the device — one of 24 that existed in the famous arena — took 15 months.

“This must have been an amazing spectacle, made even more amazing by the fact that it took eight men to operate each of the 24 lifts, plus two or three others to keep the ropes in check,” said Rossella Rea, archaeological director at the Colosseum. “We are talking about more than 200 people needed to lift animals in the arena."

Gary Glassman, director of “Colosseum Death Trap,” a film about the project, said: “If ancient Rome has a Facebook page, the Colosseum would be in its profile picture. Being part of history is priceless.”

Among the animals lifted into the site were lions, leopards, bears, wolves, ostriches and deer. Bones and skulls of these animals were found in the basement of the Colosseum by archaeologists.