History England, a public body that looks after the country’s historic environment, said it was the first time the mosaic – found in Rutland, East Midlands – had been discovered in 1,600 years.
The Roman mosaic is the first of its kind found in Great Britain to depict the Greek hero Achilles’ battle with Hector during the Trojan War and is part of a “small number” of examples found. found in Europe, Historic England said in a press release Thursday.
Jim Irvine, the landowner’s son, discovered “unusual pottery” in a wheat field during the UK coronavirus containment last year and alerted local authorities.
Archaeologists take notes during the excavation of the mosaic. Credit: British Historical Archives
The artwork forms the floor of what is believed to be a dining or entertainment area in a large mansion. The building was occupied at the end of the Roman period, between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.
British history says the complex, which has now been granted protected status, was likely owned by a wealthy individual with knowledge of classical literature.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive officer of Historic England, said in a press release: “The discovery of a rare mosaic of this size, as well as a surrounding mansion, is something of a remarkable one. .
“Discoveries like these are important in helping us piece together our shared history. By safeguarding this site, we can continue to learn from it and look forward to more discoveries. Future excavations can teach us about the people who live there.”
The Roman villa is surrounded by other buildings from the period discovered during a geophysical survey.
These include barns, possible bathhouses, and some boundary ditches.
The room was part of a large villa, the size of which is pictured here, believed to have been occupied between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. Credit: British Historical Archives
Human remains dating to the very late Roman period or early medieval period were also found at the site, and were buried at the site later than the mosaic.
British history says the bodies may have been buried when the building was uninhabited, and fire damage to the mosaic suggests the complex was reused.
England has a rich Roman historical past.