She was teased and lost more than 60 pounds after meeting her true love. Archaeologists in London have discovered an antique Roman mosaic that hasn’t been seen in the city in 50 years.
The ancient Roman Empire spanned the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, covering over 2.3 million square miles (5.9 million square kilometers) at its peak. So, while Roman-era archaeological finds are rather regular in the UK, a recent find in London is something that scientists can only dream about.
Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) discovered a 26.2 foot (8 meters) long Roman-era mosaic near London Bridge in the center of the city. The “once-in-a-lifetime” archaeological find was made beneath a building site that had previously served as a parking lot.
The well-preserved Roman mosaic, according to MOLA, dates from the late second or early 3rd century. The approximately 1800-year-old floor-montage has survived in remarkably amazing form, making it the largest mosaic discovered in the city in the last 50 years.
The mosaic was supposed to have been used to decorate the floors of a triclinium, a Roman dining chamber. It’s thought to have been part of a mansion, or motel, where high-ranking state officials could relax on couches and feast while viewing the beautiful mosaic floor, which is made up of two intricately tiled panels.
The bigger mosaic panel is set within a red tessellated floor and is encircled by guilloches — a motif of intertwined strands – and is embellished with multicolored flowers. A Solomon’s knot is also included, which is a typical looped design that has been utilized since ancient times. Two Solomon’s knots with lotus blossoms, as well as other geometric features, are included on the smaller panel.
Underneath the now visible mosaic, archaeologists working on the dig discovered indications of an even older mosaic. This suggests that the space was probably renovated over time.
The foundation and contours of the structure that houses the mosaics are still being discovered, but experts believe it was a vast complex with a central courtyard. Furthermore, archaeologists discovered the ruins of another Roman-era building near the site, which archaeologists believe was presumably the private abode of affluent nobles. There were also traces of ornately painted walls, coins, and jewelry.
A ornate bronze brooch, a bone hairpin, and a sewing needle suggest that the location was most likely occupied by wealthy people. “These discoveries are linked to high-status ladies who followed the latest fashions and hairstyles,” said Antonietta Lerz, MOLA’s site supervisor.
During most of the era of Roman domination, the site was located on the outskirts of Londinium, commonly known as Roman London – the capital of Roman Britain, until it was abandoned in the 5th century CE. The territory corresponds to the contemporary City of London and is located on the north bank of the River Thames.
The Acanthus group of mosaicists is credited with designing the findings, according to scientists. A close replica of the smaller mosaic panel was discovered in Trier, Germany, indicating that the artisans worked on both sites and traveled internationally.
This amazing time capsule will be studied further and, hopefully, put on exhibit in the near future.