Remarkable archaeological finds at dig of little known Shakespeare theater

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In order to create a new mixed-use complex that will include apartments offices, and retail spaces, archaeologists have been excavating land that once held one of Shakespeare's theaters.

Prior to the more famous Rose or Globe theaters, William Shakespeare and his troupe, Lord Chamberlain's Men performed at the Curtain Theater from 1597 - 1599.

As one of the oldest theaters in London, this is where the first performance of Romeo and Juliet is believed to have been held.

See more from the excavation process:

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Excavation of Shakespeare's Curtain Theatre
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Items found in the site include a bird whistle, which was likely used as a sound effect, a hair comb made of animal bone, which was probably part of the actor's preparation before taking the stage.

Glass beads and pins that possibly came from an actor's costume were found amongst the site's ruins, as well as money pots used for collecting fees from audience members.

Unlike most Elizabethan theaters, the well preserved remains of the Curtain are rectangular in shape instead of a round amphitheater.

About 1,000 people at a time could have enjoyed performances there.

Archaeologists found secret passageways underneath the stage, where actors would have changed costumes or moved around without being seen by the audience, which is not a feature found at other theaters of it's time.

When the dig is complete, the remains of the building will be preserved and the artifacts will be on display at the new building complex - appropriately named "The Stage" - that will be built around it.

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