A 2000 year old bronze statue recently unearthed may be proof that female gladiators took part in to-the-death battles during the heyday of the Roman Empire!
The ancient artifact depicts a female warrior with her arm outstretched in a victory pose. In her hand, she carries a sica, a curved short sword used in arena matches by gladiators, who were often captured warriors from other countries. She is nude from the waist up, wearing only a loincloth, typical of battling warriors, but no body armor for protection. Archeologists believe the statue was not created wearing armor to showcase that the carving was indeed of a female gladiator.
Very few statues of female gladiators have ever been found, after the Emperor Septimus banned females from gladiatorial combat in the year AD200. Before the banning, female slaves were sometimes forced into bloody, deadly battles for the entertainment of the masses during the days of Ancient Rome.
The remains of a "muscular" woman from the times of the Roman occupation of what is now England were discovered in 2010. The woman was buried in an elaborate ceremonial wooden coffin with iron straps and copper strips in Credenhill, UK.