An ancient mosaic, which archaeologists say was part of a Roman villa and bathhouse, has been unearthed in southeast Britain as workers prepared the site for the construction of a supermarket. Photo courtesy of Oxford Archaeology
March 21 (UPI) -- An ancient mosaic, which archaeologists say was part of a Roman villa and bathhouse, has been unearthed in southeast Britain as workers prepared the site for the construction of a supermarket.
Archaeologists surveyed the site in the town of Olney, in Buckinghamshire, before construction was to start on the new Aldi supermarket and discovered the ancient mosaic brickwork.
"We can now share a pretty exciting find," Oxford Archaeology tweeted. "A Roman mosaic, probably belonging to the Durobrivan group from the East Midlands, that we uncovered during excavations at Olney, Buckinghamshire on behalf of Angle Property."
"There is a previously known Roman settlement at Olney #buckinghamshire so when work started, we knew there was the possibility to find some pretty cool structures and finds but ... a mosaic! Wow!" Oxford Archaeology said.
The dig was commissioned by the property's developer, Angle Property, due to the site's proximity to the existing Roman Site at Olney.
"Due to the site location we anticipated some notable Roman remains, but the discovery of this fantastic mosaic far exceeded those expectations," said John Boothroyd of Oxford Archaeology. "To be able to preserve remains of this quality and importance is a brilliant outcome."
Archaeologists, who examined the mosaic, said it features "vibrant colors and intricate decorative patterns" made up of red, white and blue tiles, according to Oxford Archaeology, which has deemed the mosaic "archaeological remains of high significance."
The tiles, which extend under a nearby road preventing further investigation, are believed to have been part of a Roman villa and bathhouse.
Workers have covered the mosaic and are preserving the site to allow construction to continue without causing damage.
The discovery of the mosaic comes after archaeologists in northern Britain revealed last week that they had unearthed a 1,600-year-old cemetery, along with the skeletal remains of a late-Roman aristocratic woman, in the city of Leeds.