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Rock in the Colosseum plan creates a rumble

Don't expect gladiators to make a latter-day comeback. And soccer has already been ruled out.

But an archaeologist's proposal to return the Colosseum's storied arena to the state it was in when gladiators sparred with lions, has sparked a lively debate over appropriate uses of the monument that symbolizes the glories of ancient Rome.

Critics have fretted that the Colosseum would be turned into a venue for events like rock concerts, viewed as both unbefitting of its stature as an ancient wonder and likely to inflict damage to the structure.

Archaeologist Daniele Manacorda of Roma Tre university said his suggestion to replace the arena's long-disappeared floor is aimed at restoring the Colosseum to its original state so visitors can better appreciate its ancient splendor - not turning it into a heavily trafficked concert venue.

Italy's culture minister Dario Franceschini endorsed the proposal with a tweet on Sunday, but quickly found himself rebuffing modern-day fantasies, like that of the AC Roma president to play soccer in the arena.

"Where is it written that you can't protect the value of the Colosseum while also making it more dynamic and useable?" Franceschini said.

He has placed the idea under study for both costs and feasibility.