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Oxyrhynchus: A City and its Texts, Virtual Exhibition: The Theatre

The Theatre

The theatre was partially cleared by Petrie in 1922. It was roughly 400 feet in diameter, and Petrie estimated its seating capacity as over 11,000, which has been used as a factor in estimating the city population, possibly around 30,000 people. Numerous fragments of sculpture and carvings were found among the theatre ruins. A curious feature of the theatre was a spiral staircase of mediaeval castle type at each end of the stage, a feature unparalleled in any other ancient theatre. Photographs in the Ashmolean exhibition illustrate the staircase remains and sculptural fragments.

F.Petrie, Tombs of the Courtiers and Oxyrhynkhos (1925), pl.XXXVIII