- A Roman mosaic and villa were discovered under a farmer’s field in Britain.
- The mosaic depicts scenes from Homer’s “Iliad” and is located in an extensive villa complex.
- The rare mosaic was found by the family that owns the land during the lockdown last year.
The first Roman mosaic of its kind in Britain has been discovered.
The first discovery of the rare mosaic was made during the 2020 shutdown by Jim Irvine, son of landowner Brian Naylor.
The mosaic depicts scenes from Homer’s “Iliad” and part of the story of the Greek hero Achilles. Along with the mosaic is a surrounding villa complex.
John Thomas, deputy director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services and project manager at the excavations, called it “the most exciting Roman mosaic discovery in Britain in the last century,” according to The Guardian.
Both have been protected as a planned monument, and during the closure in 2020, Historic England was able to secure funding for emergency archaeological investigations of the site.
Staff and students from the University of Leicester’s School of Archeology and Ancient History further investigated the site in September 2021.
The rare art lies on the floor in what is believed to be a dining or entertaining area, according to the website Historic England.
Mosaics were often used in private and public buildings throughout the Roman Empire. Some have famous figures from history and mythology. This mosaic is particularly unique to Britain because it contains Achilles and his battle with Hector at the end of the Trojan War, making it one of only a handful of examples from across Europe.
The villa that was discovered is also surrounded by a number of other buildings and features, including stables, circular structures and a possible bathhouse.
The complex has probably been occupied by a wealthy person, from the late Roman period, with knowledge of classical literature.
The site is located on private land and not accessible to the public.