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Rome's Colosseum brought back to life

ROME, ITALY -- A restoration to Rome's Colosseum is bringing the ancient stadium back to life, CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti reports from Rome.

The restoration of an ancient animal lift is helping historians and visitors re-imagine battles between gladiators and wild animals. The lift is one of 28 devices once used to carry hungry lions, bears and wolves through a trap door to a staged battlefield above.

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Video from a documentary being made about the Colosseum shows how the lift would have worked. CBS News

Colosseum director Barbara Nazzaro said the ancient amphitheater has seen its share of life and death.

"One thing is to imagine it and describe it," she said. "Another is to realize it as it was."

It cost nearly $20 million to restore the animal elevator. It was a gift from a production company filming a documentary on the Colosseum.

The lift is an earlier version of the modern day elevator. But instead of electricity, the Romans, who had a knack for theatrics, used a lot of man power. It took eight men to hoist up the animals to their fight with gladiators.

"The emperor had to impress people in Rome," Nazzaro said.

Two-thousand years later -- the restored piece of history is still impressing visitors.

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