Workmen discover Roman mosaic

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The Independent Online

One of the biggest Roman mosaics uncovered in recent history has been discovered by chance in a field in Somerset.

One of the biggest Roman mosaics uncovered in recent history has been discovered by chance in a field in Somerset.

The spectacular work – a complex Romano-British red, white and blue mosaic pavement measuring 13 by six metres – is the biggest ancient work of art found in Britain for 30 years. It is 1,640 years old.

The previously unknown site – near the village of Lopen – was discovered last week by workmen laying a drive for an office. English Heritage archaeologists did a geophysical survey of the area yesterday to discover what else might lie hidden.

The shape and design of the mosaic pavement suggested that it formed the floor of a very substantial reception-cum-dining room, almost certainly part of a luxurious villa, said David Neal, a mosaic expert. Up to a dozen other mosaics may still await discovery under the field.

The rectangular mosaic's images include: chalice-style cups, flowers and shields usually associated with mythical female warriors; a dolphin with red fins, red tail, teeth and red streamers coming out of its mouth; 10 octagons and six demi-octagons featuring floral and platted rope patterns.

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