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Extraordinary Roman mosaics and villas found under peasant fields in Rutland, England

A member of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services team during the excavation of a large mosaic in Rutland, England. Credit: Historic England

Archaeologists have unearthed the first Roman mosaic of this kind in Britain. Today (Thursday 25)NS In November 2021), a complex of rare Roman mosaics and surrounding villas was protected as a designated monument by DCMS, with the advice of Historic England. This decision is based on archaeological work done by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) team in collaboration with Historic England and the Rutland County Council.


First discovery of mosaic During the 2020 blockade, landowner Brian Naylor’s son Jim Irvine contacted the archaeological team of the Leicestershire County Council, a local heritage adviser. Given the exceptional nature of this discovery, Historic England was able to secure funding for an urgent archaeological survey of the site by ULAS in August 2020. Further excavations involving staff and students from the Faculty of Archeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester have investigated the details of the site. September 2021. The wreckage of the mosaic is close to 11m x 7m and depicts part of the story of the Greek hero Achilles.

The artwork forms the floor of what is considered a large dining or entertainment area.Mosaic is a variety of private and Public building Throughout the Roman Empire, he often featured famous figures from history and mythology. However, the Rutland Mosaic is unique in Britain in that it features the battle between Achilles and Hector at the end of the Trojan War and is just one of a handful of examples across Europe.

The room is part of a large villa building between the three occupied in the late Roman erard And 4NS Century AD. The villa is also within a series of sulcus limitsans, with a variety of other buildings and features revealed by geophysical research and archaeological evaluation, such as barns with passageways, circular structures, and the possibility of baths. Surrounded by. The complex may have been occupied by wealthy individuals with knowledge of classical literature.

Fire damage and mosaic damage suggest that the site was later reused and reused. Other evidence found includes the discovery of a human corpse in the rubble covering the mosaic. These burials are believed to have been buried after the building was no longer occupied, and the exact date is currently unknown, but later than the mosaic, but in relation to the villa building, late Roman or medieval. The date of the diversion of this structure suggests the early days. Their findings provide insight into how the site was used during this relatively poorly understood early post-Roman history.

Evidence recovered from the site will be analyzed by experts at Historic England and throughout the UK, including ULAS at the University of Leicester and David Neal, a leading UK mosaic researcher.

The planned monumental protection recognizes the extraordinary national importance of this site. Make sure these remains are legally protected and help you fight illegal activities such as unauthorized work and detection of illegal metals. This site has been thoroughly investigated and recorded as part of a recent investigation and has been backfilled for protection for future generations.

The villa complex was found in cultivated land where shallow archaeological sites were disturbed by cultivation and other activities. Historic England is working with landowners to help these fields return to sustainable grassland and pasture use. These types of agricultural environmental plans are an important part of how to protect both the historic and natural environment and have donated approximately £ 13 million annually to the protection and maintenance of rural heritage. They help preserve places like the Latland Mosaic so that people can enjoy and learn about our fascinating history.

Working with the University of Leicester and other stakeholders, Historic England plans to make more excavations on the site in 2022.

Discussions are underway with the Rutland County Council to explore opportunities for off-site exhibitions and interpretations of the Villa Complex and its discoveries. The form and scope of this work will be communicated by the proposed future excavations and will be subject to future National Lottery Heritage Fund bids.

Extraordinary Roman mosaics and villas found under peasant fields in Rutland, England

An in-situ complete mosaic image showing three panels (damaged) featuring Achilles. Credit: Historic England

This site is on private land and is not accessible to the general public.

John Thomas, Deputy Director of ULAS and Project Manager for Archaeological Research, said: In addition to classical literature, it also teaches a huge amount of individuals who commissioned this work. This is the first depiction of those who had knowledge of the classics and had the money to ask for works of such detail. A story I’ve found so far in the UK.

“The fact that the surrounding complex has a wide context is also very important, as previous excavations in Roman villas could only take partial photographs of such settlements, but this is very well preserved. It seems to be an example. The whole is a villa. “

Jim Irvine, who first discovered the remains, said: I found a very clear cropmark, as if someone had chalked it on my computer screen! This was a really “wow” moment and the beginning of the story.

This archaeological discovery filled most of my leisure last year. Between my normal work and this, it made me very busy and a fascinating journey. Last year, I was very thrilled to be able to interact and cooperate with archaeologists and students in the field. You can only imagine what will be excavated next! ”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Historic England, said: We can continue to learn from this site and look forward to what future archaeological excavations will tell us about the people who lived there over 1500 years ago. “

Richard Clark, a county archaeologist in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: I am pleased to be involved in the research and work with such a group of skilled amateurs and professionals. The villa, its mosaics, and the surrounding complex are the finest discoveries in Latland’s recent archaeological history, making the county a national international stage and a local Romano in times of remarkable change and turmoil. It provides vibrant insights into the life and demise of the British Elite. The final stage of burial is just one of many interesting aspects of the investigation, suggesting continued knowledge and respect. For post-Roman sites. “

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This fascinating discovery of the elaborate Roman complex in Latland helps us to better understand our history. We are pleased to have protected this site to support further research and excavation. think.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice President of the University of Leicester, said: “The importance of this discovery and the number of Lester students in the Faculty of Archeology and Ancient History who are fortunate to visit the site on their own from people familiar with Roman archeology and actually experience ULAS on this major project. I was able to meet him in person, so I witnessed him in person. The thorough and careful work that our archaeologists did to deepen our understanding of the UK in Rome. “

The discovery of the villa in Latland and the shooting when the mosaic was discovered for the first time in 1600 years Dig for the UK When I returned to BBC Two and iPlayer in early 2022.

Host Professor Alice Roberts said: Dig for the UK That is, we don’t know what discoveries will be revealed when we set out to shoot the series. This year, the revelation was spectacular. Each discovery brings us closer to understanding the lives of those who once lived in the UK. Archeology brings you intimately with the physical reality of the past. ”


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