ROMAN MOSAIC ‘is biggest found in London for 50 years in Roman Britain’

Just in case you have not heard of the recent discovery of this mosaic on the Bankside in Southwark. Below is what Salon, the online newsletter for the Society of Antiquities, said about it. Below that is the Guardian’s coverage.

This site is next to a site that was worked on in the 1970s/1980s, called Calvert Buildings. The site was developed in the early Roman period with strip buildings made of timber, which were replaced by a stone building identified as a possible ‘Mansio’ – an official Roman travel lodge. I think, although useful details are hard to find in the gush of admiration for the mosaic. that it is thought the Mosaic is part of the Mansion.

To sign up for Salon click here. This is what Salon said about the discovery:

Huge Roman Mosaic Discovered in London

Just minutes from the Shard, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) have unearthed a beautiful Roman mosaic, featuring colourful flowers and geometric patterns. The mosaic, at over eight meters long, is the largest found in London for over fifty years and dates to the late second or early third century.

The main panel of the mosaic features large flowers, surrounded by twisted-rope bans, across a red tessellated floor. A smaller nearby panel, as well as the main mosaic, feature geometric elements and lotus flowers and both are remarkably well preserved. David Neal FSA, an expert in Roman mosaic, says that the design likely was created by a team of mosaicists known as the Acanthus group, who had a unique style. Indeed, there is an impressively close parallel between the smaller panel and another mosaic discovered in Trier, Germany, demonstrating that the

group travelled across Europe. 

It is believed that the mosaic, which was discovered a month ago, was part of a triclinium, a dining room with couches on which people would recline to eat and drink. This was likely part of a Roman mansio, an upmarket establishment offering accommodation, stabling, and dining facilities for state couriers and officials travelling to and from London. 

Perhaps appropriately, the site is being redeveloped as ‘The Liberty of Southwark’, a complex of offices, homes and shops. The mosaic will be lifted later this year to be preserved and conserved off site, and the eventual aim is for the work to be on display publicly.

Image credits: MOLA/Andy Chopping’

Salon: Issue 484 23 February 2022

Lavish Roman mosaic is biggest found in London for 50 years | Roman Britain | The Guardian

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