This Week In History News, Aug. 20 – 26

Published August 25, 2023
Updated August 28, 2023

Roman amphitheater with blood-red walls unearthed in Israel, 300,000-year-old pointy stick was used by early humans to hunt, restoration of an Irish castle reveals a centuries-old secret room sealed behind a wall.

Roman Military Amphitheater With Blood-Red Walls Found Near “Armageddon” In Israel

Roman Amphitheater In Israel

Matthew J. AdamsAn amphitheater uncovered at Legio, a long-hidden Roman military camp in Israel.

Archaeologists in Israel just uncovered an ancient Roman amphitheater buried beneath agricultural fields in the Jezreel Valley. Originally carved out by locals mining clay and later converted into an arena, the “ludus” is an oval-shaped basin measuring about 40 by 50 meters with dirt terracing that functioned as seats — and stone walls painted blood-red.

And this arena was not used for theatrical performances. Rather, the amphitheater, which was part of a Roman military camp, functioned as training grounds for soldiers or gladiators.

Learn more about this astonishing discovery here.

300,000-Year-Old Pointy Stick Found In Germany Is Among Oldest Documented Wooden Tools Made By Early Humans

Pointy Stick

Volker MinkusThe pointy stick was used by early humans, possibly Homo heidelbergensis or Homo neanderthalensis.

In 1994, archaeologists uncovered a curious wooden stick, which was pointed on both ends, among other wooden tools in Schöningen, Germany. Now, after studying it in greater depth using advanced technology, researchers believe that the stick was used by early humans as a sort of boomerang while hunting.

Experts speculate that early humans used these throwing sticks to stun animals such as deer, rabbits, and birds, before using spears to finish them off. And given that the stick is light and easy to grasp, it’s possible it may have been used by children in communal hunts, or else as toy spears that children played with in order to hone their hunting techniques.

Learn more about this fascinating find here.

This Centuries-Old Secret Room Was Just Discovered In Ireland’s Johnstown Castle

Secret Room At Johnstown Castle

Irish Heritage TrustThe room may have been sealed off centuries ago because of a “tragedy.”

Grand, gothic, and over 800 years old, Johnstown Castle in Wexford County, Ireland looks like the kind of place that contains secrets. Recent restoration work has started to chip away at its mysteries — and has just revealed a centuries-old forgotten room sealed behind a section of wall. But why was the room hidden?

“There is quite a tragic family history associated with Johnstown Castle,” the castle’s manager said. “So this room could have been sealed off due to a tragedy, which would have happened in times past.”

Dive into this mystery here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.