According to a press release put out by the group on Tuesday, a team of archaeologists found that wine jugs, grain, and other food and drinks were extremely overpriced in the Roman Colosseum and other public game venues at the time.
“You could get a wine jug at a street vendor for one, maybe two denari,” said lead archaeologist Vincetti Corredi, “But the amphitheater vendors would charge you 5 or 6 for the same quality wine. It was an absolute rip off.”
Corredi explained that the team discovered signs underground near the Colosseum that advertised cheap snacks for unfairly high prices. His team realized how much of a rip off it was after comparing the Colosseum prices with the prices of local shops, preserved in stone tablets.
“And of course they didn’t allow outside food or drinks into the amphitheater,” Corredi added, explaining that since tickets did not allow for reentry, spectators were not able to leave, get food, and come back. Letters and other literary records indicate that spectators frequently planned to eat or drink before and tough it out inside, but they usually caved and bought themselves wine or bread.
“We’ve found the remains of some snacks that Romans tucked into their clothes and snuck by in the Circus Maximus,” Corredi added. “But it seems like the people were mostly caught and forced to throw their food out before coming in.”