The legend of where York’s long lost Roman amphitheatre lies beneath the city is to be battled out at Ex Factum! This one-off event is recruiting teams to pinpoint where this legendary venue could be, on Thursday 9 June.

Gladiators fought, rebels were executed and the Emperor may have addressed the VI Legion in the city’s amphitheatre. Now, some 2,000 years after it could have been built, City of York Council, York Museum’s Trust and AOC Archaeology Group are inviting ten teams to join Ex Factum and pitch their brilliant and best theories of where the amphitheatre’s remains could be.

The team that gets the biggest thumbs up from the public for its most convincing and entertaining arguments will win Ex Factum. The top team will have the chance to research its idea for the arena’s location in greater depth with the help of a professional archaeologist who can unearth specialist resources and share trade secrets.

Anyone – inquisitive residents, experts in the field or informed amateurs – is invited to take part in the Ex Factum search in any of three ways:

  • Put together a team to argue the case to an audience on 9 June at the Yorkshire Museum. You will have just eight minutes to convince the audience where the amphitheatre is and how it can be found. If the team wants an archaeologist to help them, they’ll be given a professional mentor – just like that well-known talent show! With places for just 10 teams available, tell us why yours should be chosen before the deadline of 5pm on Wednesday 18 May. Choose a likely location to explore and register the team’s details on www.yorkslostamphitheatre.com .
  • Create a poster – A2 maximum size – showing where the amphitheatre is located and what it looked like. There will be special Roman prizes for the best posters/ drawings for the under 10s, under 18s, and over 18s. Submit the finished poster or drawing before Thursday 26 May at 5pm.
  • Vote for your favourite location – either by joining the audience at the Yorkshire Museum on 9 June at 6:30 pm – book your free tickets at www.yorkslostamphitheatre.com – or vote remotely on the website.

All the details of how teams can sign up and posters can be submitted at www.yorkslostamphitheatre.com . Here too, tickets can be booked to the presentation and voting event at the Yorkshire Museum on 9 June at 6:30pm is set out. A stash of information sheets and links to further resources can also be found at the website.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Ex Factum promises to be a fantastic event! The glamour of the gladiators merged with a hit TV formula, gives residents an unmissable chance to dig deep into their imaginations and knowledge to convince us they know where the amphitheatre lies. This event has been devised thanks to a collaboration between the council, York Museum’s Trust, AOC Archaeology Group and the Festival of Ideas, with funding from the Holbeck Trust.”

Emma Williams, Assistant Curator of Archaeology Learning, said: “Ex Factum is going to be one of the most exciting and entertaining archaeological events of the year. Don’t miss the opportunity to see competing teams debate where York’s amphitheatre might lie.”

Mitchell Pollington of AOC Archaeology Group, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this hugely exciting search for York’s lost amphitheatre and can’t wait to see what suggestions people may have for its location!”

This event is one of 100 free activities offered as part of the University of York’s Festival of Ideas 2016 – http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2016/ – and comes hot on the heels of the Yorkshire Museum’s Eboracum Roman Festival – http://www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk