Unearthed Roman villa to be buried beneath road

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The Independent Online
A LARGE second or third century Roman villa which has been unearthed by archaeologists in Maidstone, Kent, is about to be buried under a dual carriageway, writes David Keys.

Survey work on the remains suggests that the villa had plaster walls, mosaic floors, and possibly central heating. Its 20 rooms were either side of a long corridor - and the entrance was built in the form of an imposing classical portico.

However, the most unusual aspect of the villa is an entrance vestibule added to the front of the building, perhaps in the third century. This was fitted with what appear to have been two basins. Nothing like them has been found in that position in a villa in Britain before. Sunk into the floor, the basins were at least 60cm deep.

Originally discovered in 1848, the Maidstone villa was partially excavated again in the 1970s, and is now being investigated by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust.