Largest Ancient Roman Mosaic in 50 Years Unearthed in London | My Modern Met

By Jessica Stewart on February 23, 2022

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime find in London…When the first flashes of color started to emerge through the soil, everyone on site was very excited.”

The ancient Roman Empire extended all the way to the United Kingdom, so it’s not unusual for archeologists to dig up treasures in England. However, a recent find in London is even more impressive than usual. The largest Roman mosaic found in the capital in 50 years has been unearthed near the Shard in central London.

Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) came across the elaborate mosaics during a construction project in Southwark. As part of the building process, excavations were conducted and experts were delighted with what they found—two decorative mosaic panels with geometric patterns and floral motifs. It’s believed that the mosaics, which are in good condition, were the floors of a Roman triclinium.

A triclinium is a formal dining room that was furnished with chaise lounges so that guests could recline while being served multiple courses or watching entertainment. These dinner parties were grand occasions and so it comes as no surprise that the interior decoration would reflect this importance.

Experts believe that the larger panel found in London dates to the late 2nd and early 3rd century AD. Experts were also able to spot an older mosaic under the visible one, which indicates that the space had been refurbished. Its location in Southwark places it just on the outskirts of Roman Londinium. This area was established around 50 CE and sat on the site of the modern-day City of London.[…]

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