National Trust Archaeologists uncover two mosaics at Chedworth Roman Villa

Students helping uncover the mosaic beneath the tarmac

The mosaic uncovered beneath the turf

First published in Cotswolds news Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered two mosaics at Chedworth Roman Villa which have not been seen for decades.

Two Roman mosaics not seen for years have been briefly uncovered by a team of National Trust archaeologists digging at Chedworth Roman Villa.

The mosaics are on the north side of the villa and are being studied before they will be covered up at the end of the week.

“It is wonderful to see something so rare being uncovered but they will only be on show briefly before being covered." said operations manager at Chedworth Roman Villa Alex Auden. If you can visit by Thursday afternoon you’ll get a chance to see them.” The archaeologists are spending two weeks digging near the Bath House on the north range of the villa to understand what Roman remains have survived and what will need to be done to protect them.

Already the mosaics are showing two very different standards of preservation.

“One of the mosaics uncovered is in beautiful condition while the other has been damaged by grass roots, but is still impressively intact,” continued Alex.

“The first one was covered by a tarmac path which has protected the mosaic much better than the other which was under a thin layer of turf. The grass roots and weeds have got inbetween the mosaic tiles and water has leached through the turf washing away the lime mortar which holds the mosaic together.

"The tarmac is waterproof and has given much better protection to the mosaic."

The archaeologists are using the discovery to come up with a long term plan to protect the new mosaics at Chedworth.

Last year a new conservation building was opened over the mosaics on the West Range of the villa. The new cover structure gave better protection to the remains and mosaics while also allowing them to be displayed to the public and viewed from suspended walkways. 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 shortlisted for the prestigious World Architecture Awards.

The archaeological investigations this August are part of a programme of several years of summer excavations at the Villa. The mosaic floors that are uncovered this month will be covered up again after careful examination and recording of their condition.

For more information about the villa visit nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth

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