Archeologists Unearth Roman Villa With ‘Vibrant’ Mosaic
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Archeologists believe they have discovered the remains of a Roman bathhouse and a villa with a detailed, colorful brick mosaic in Olney, England, Oxford Archaeology, the group who conducted the dig, announced last week. 

During the process of preparing the area for the construction of an Aldi grocery store, archeologists were tasked with digging at the site because of its proximity to another Roman site in Olney, located in southeast England, the BBC reported. The mosaic is colored red, white, and blue, and was described as being “intricate” and having “high significance.”

“Due to the site location we anticipated some notable Roman remains, but the discovery of this fantastic mosaic far exceeded those expectations,” John Boothroyd, senior project manager at Oxford Archaeology, said. “To be able to preserve remains of this quality and importance is a brilliant outcome.”

Pictures of the brick mosaic clearly show the “vibrant colors and intricate decorative patterns,” as the archeology organization describes it. A large portion of the mosaic and remains are reportedly buried under the nearby main road, limiting researchers’ ability to fully dig and examine the entire site.

“The uncovered sections, remarkably vibrant, show a blue and cream decoration on the outer border and a red, white, and blue pattern with typical Roman decorative elements in the infill,” a press release from Oxford Archaeology reportedly said.

The mosaic was unearthed in what might have been described as a domus, according to The Independent. The World History Encyclopedia describes a Roman domus as more than just living quarters, but a business center and place of worship. The mosaic was reportedly in a large room of the building. They could be small or as large as a luxurious mansion, according to the organization, and could have numerous rooms, including an atrium, a shrine, an office, a dining room, and a garden.

Also unearthed were multiple stone structures that may have been used for water collection in a bathhouse, which was located near the villa, according to The Independent.


Oxford Archaeology said the remains likely belonged to the Durobrivan group from the East Midlands, which is one of nine geographical regions in England. This find, along with the previous Roman settlement discovered in the northeast part of the town, has shown that Olney is an important archeological area in England.

Anthony Williamson, the executive director of developer Angle Property, who commissioned the excavation, stated the discovery would be “fully recorded” and said it had “taken us all by surprise.” The mosaic was preserved in situ, which means it was covered for protection, allowing construction of the Aldi to continue, according to the BBC.

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