Ancient red numbers discovered on Colosseum

Restorers find marks indicating sectors of stadium

Traces of painted red numbers have been discovered during the ongoing restoration of the Colosseum, indicating various sectors of the amphitheatre similar to the seating system employed by today's stadiums.

The numbers were painted on the arches of the Colosseum to guide visitors to their respective stands, according to their social class. Describing it as an "exceptional discovery", the monument's director Rossella Rea said that restorers had not expected the painted numbers to have survived.

The director of the restoration project Cinzia Conti said the discovery proved the delicacy of the water-powered process, which removes dirt and smog residue but preserves the ancient surface beneath.

The €25-million restoration of the Colosseum began in 2013 and is sponsored by Italian shoe magnate Tods.

Photos La Repubblica