Letter: Adding more pieces to the mosaic puzzle

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The Independent Online
Sir: Non-specialist readers of David Keys' interesting article on the Horkstow mosaic would not realise that it has been above ground for about 70 years, and can be seen today.

As a very small boy I walked (about four and a half miles each way) to see the excavation at Horkstow when it was removed to the British Museum.

I remember vividly the methods employed to move it. The pavement was cleared of soil, measured, sketched and photographed, then a huge roll of butter- muslin was laid over it, adhesive applied and later the whole thing was rolled up in a cylinder to be transported to the British Museum where it was rolled out on to a prepared bed and a solvent was used to disengage the material.

When, a few years later, my father took me to London, I was thrilled to see the pavement again, on view in the British Museum where it remained for many years.

A few years ago it was returned to Humberside but, to my anger at the time, to the north of the river. However, they have made in Hull an excellent job of presenting it to the public, along with other mosaics from (probably) the same 'factory' at Petularia (Brough).

William Fowler uncovered and copied numerous other mosaics, several within a few miles of Horkstow, including one now removed from its Winterton site and incorporated in the civic centre at Scunthorpe, and thus on permanent public display.

Yours faithfully,


Scunthorpe, South Humberside

1 March