Extraordinary Roman mosaic and villa discovered beneath farmer’s field in Rutland, UK
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London (United Kingdom)/Canadian-Media: Archaeologists have unearthed the first Roman mosaic of its kind in the UK. Today (Thursday 25th November 2021), a rare Roman mosaic and surrounding villa complex have been protected as a Scheduled Monument by DCMS on the advice of Historic England, https://phys.org/news reports said.
The decision follows archaeological work undertaken by a team from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), working in partnership with Historic England and in liaison with Rutland County Council.
The initial discovery of the mosaic was made during the 2020 lockdown by Jim Irvine, son of landowner Brian Naylor, who contacted the archaeological team at Leicestershire County Council, heritage advisors to the local authority. Given the exceptional nature of this discovery, Historic England was able to secure funding for urgent archaeological investigations of the site by ULAS in August 2020. Further excavation involving staff and students from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History examined more of the site in September 2021. The remains of the mosaic measure 11m by almost 7m and depict part of the story of the Greek hero Achilles.
The artwork forms the floor of what’s thought to be a large dining or entertaining area. Mosaics were used in a variety of private and public buildings across the Roman Empire, and often featured famous figures from history and mythology. However, the Rutland mosaic is unique in the UK in that it features Achilles and his battle with Hector at the conclusion of the Trojan War and is one of only a handful of examples from across Europe.
The room is part of a large villa building occupied in the late Roman period, between the 3rd and 4th century AD. The villa is also surrounded by a range of other buildings and features revealed by a geophysical survey and archaeological evaluation, including what appear to be…