It was the last thing they would see: a trapdoor opening in the floor of the Colosseum to unleash a snarling lion or bear, which sprang for the jugular as the crowds roared. Where prisoners sentenced to a grisly death in ancient Rome’s most barbaric playground once quaked in their sandals, today tourists can explore the cage that carried their killers thanks to a reconstruction in the ancient arena. The seven-metre high (23-foot) wooden machine, powered by slaves deep in the stadium’s belly, could lift a load weighing 300 kilogrammes and brought wolves, boars and even antelopes to do battle with the empire’s fiercest gladiators. ‘This unique project began with a meeting with the (American) director Gary Glassman’ in 2013, the site’s director Rossella Rea told AFP. Glassman wanted to recreate one of the arena’s 28 lifts for a documentary entitled ‘Colosseum, Roman Death Trap’,

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