Archaeological Dig at National Trust owned Roman Villa aims to re-discover previously uncovered mosaics

The live investigations hope to uncover mosaics thought to be first discovered in the 1960's

Chedworth Roman Villa begins news excavations

First published in Cotswolds news

VISITORS to Chedworth Roman Villa will be able to see archaeology in action for the rest of this month.

A team of experts are carrying out a dig at the Cotswolds tourist attraction mean that mosaics, possibly uncovered in the 1960s before being re-buried, will be revealed again right in front of visitors.

The northern part of the site was surveyed in the 1960s but no records of that dig survive.

The excavations will be directed by National Trust archaeologist Dr Martin Papworth and advised by Professor Simon Esmonde-Cleary and Professor Peter Salway.

"Our aim is to evaluate the nature and quality of the surviving archaeology and see what other excavations will be needed both in archaeological and conservation terms," Dr Martin Papworth explained.

"We know this area was dug just over 50 years ago but records haven’t survived. We believe the mosaics and remains on the north range are at least as extensive and interesting and those now protected by the new West range building.

"We want to assess exactly what is there and decide how best to protect them. If we are able to build another cover building, these digs will show exactly where to place it and how big it would need to be to protect the most important and fragile remains in this part of the villa.”

In 2012 Chedworth Roman Villa opened a new conservation building over the West side of the site. The new cover structure has enabled more rooms and corridors of mosaics to be displayed to the public, accessed on suspended walkways, with new interpretation and improved conservation of the Roman Villa remains.

The project has recently picked up one of the three Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards for the South West and was one of the only two UK projects short-listed for the prestigious World Architecture Awards.

"The new archaeological digs are very exciting for all our staff, volunteers and visitors alike, and everyone is very curious of what will be uncovered next," Sigute Barniskyte, visitor services coordinator at the villa said. "The villa has been in the care of the National Trust since 1924, but it still holds many secrets and treasures that have not been accessed yet. These excavations will reveal answers to many questions that we still have about the site."

The dig will be the first of a series of planned excavations at Chedworth planned for the summer months for the next few years.

The mosaic floors revealed this month will be covered up again after careful examination for their protection.

For more information go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth

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