Grand Roman villa discovered: 'Family making their mark'

Published 1627 GMT (0027 HKT) April 17, 2016
Roman Villa Wiltshire 2Roman Villa Wiltshire 2
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A grand Roman villa complex, undisturbed for more than 1,500 years, has been discovered on the grounds of a UK farmhouse after earthworks uncovered a well-preserved mosaic. Jon Wilks
Luke Irwin, a British rug designer, said he had hired workmen to lay underground electricity cables to an old barn on his property in Brixton Deverill, about 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of the former Roman spa town of Bath, last year. Jon Wilks
About 18 inches below the topsoil, they struck a hard surface of orange, cream and gray mosaic tiles. Jon Wilks
Realizing the likely significance of a mosaic beneath the ground in a remote field, Irwin told the workmen to stop what they were doing and called in the archaeologists instead. Jon Wilks
Other artifacts found nearby included a bath house, a well, pottery and coins. Luke Irwin
Discarded oyster shells were also discovered that the ancient inhabitants would have dined on. Jon Wilks
They also determined that a stone planter near the Irwin's kitchen that had been used to house geraniums was actually originally the coffin of a Roman child. Jon Wilks
It is believed the three-story villa, with a footprint of at least 50 meters by 50 meters, would have belonged to a wealthy and powerful family. Archaeologists have compared it in scale and significance to Chedworth, a Roman villa discovered in 1864. Aerial Filming Services Ltd
Irwin said the plan for the site was not yet clear, but he hoped it would be given the proper excavation it deserved. Aerial Filming Services Ltd