Gladiators | JORVIK Viking Centre

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Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets features the skeletal remains of six men who were buried in a Roman cemetery on the outskirts of York. When the site was excavated in 2004-5, archaeologists were so intrigued by the evidence that further investigation was needed. Research continues to uncover more about who these men were, where they came from and how they died, questioning whether they were criminals, soldiers, slaves or gladiators.

The exhibition allows visitors to get up close to these fascinating discoveries and assess the evidence for themselves through a range of AV material, including facial reconstructions, CT scans and interviews. They can also learn more about the Roman period through replica helmets and weapons as well as unique archaeological finds. Our family friendly area is themed as a Roman marketplace, complete with associated activities and games.

“Gladiators was an excellent exhibition to have. It linked so well to the Roman history of our area and enabled us to collaborate with new organisations to promote Roman life and the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site. I had a very positive experience working with the JORVIK Group. The touring exhibitions manager was extremely helpful, as were her team. They were a pleasure to work with.”

Gillian Smith, Callendar House, Falkirk


Visitors get the opportunity to see six unique skeletons from the Driffield Terrace excavation.

Assess the evidence

There are six skeletons on display, shown alongside AV material and interpretation panels. (Shown here at Callendar House, Falkirk, 2019)

Facial reconstruction

Visitors can assess the information for themselves and learn more about who these men may have been, for example through this facial reconstruction.

Gladiator helmets

Learn more about the Roman period through replica weapons, helmets and armour.

Ready for battle

Dress like a Roman in our family-friendly area.


Our Roman market is full of surprises for younger visitors.

Hands-on market stalls

You can have fun buying food from the stalls.

Get creative

There’s even an opportunity to get creative and design your own gladiator.

Archaeological finds

Our artefacts allow visitors to learn more about Roman everyday life, military life and burial rituals.