The remains of small dogs similar to dachshunds have reportedly been found in the drains of Rome's Colosseum.
The underground Colosseum area houses a network of tunnels and chambers distributed over two levels and 80 vertical shafts. Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum, told The Telegraph that the findings were discovered during a year-long study during which archeologists traveled through 70 meters of drains and sewers.
"We found many bones from dogs which were similar to the modern sausage dog," Russo explained.
The Colosseum is known to have featured shows in which gladiators fought to the death against beasts, criminals and other gladiators for the entertainment of Roman society.
According to Russo, however, the remains were "less than 30cm" (11.8 inches) in height and show that the dogs may have been used to perform acrobatic tricks, staged hunts, and fight against wild animals.
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"We don't know for sure," she added.
PEOPLE has reached out to representatives for the Colosseum, but did not immediately hear back.
Although small, the dachshund breed emerged in early 18th-century Germany and was bred to be and independent hunter of dangerous prey.
Along with their remains, archeologists founds the remains of leopards, bears, lions, ostriches, and large dogs during their study, along with remnants of snacks that spectators would have eaten, like fruits and olives.