Ornate Roman fresco discovered in London

An ornate Roman fresco has been discovered during archaeological fieldwork for a new office development at 21 Lime Street in London.

The fresco, dating from the late 1st Century AD was uncovered 6 metres beneath street level and is one of the earliest surviving examples of frescos in Roman Britain.

Although small fragments of Roman wall plaster material have previously been discovered on previous excavations and construction projects, complete collapsed wall paintings are extremely rare.

The fresco design is unlike any previously seen in Britain, examples that bare some correlation come from a Roman Villa in Colgne, Germany.

The fragile remains, surviving face down measures a width of 2.5 metres and a height of over 1.5 metres and were preserved thanks to a roman building boom in AD100. During this period, buildings were flattened in preparation for the 2nd Forum Basilica construction. The painted fresco wall was deliberately toppled and the Forum built immediately over  it.


“The painting is likely to have decorated a reception room where guests were greeted and entertained. Our building materials specialists are excited to study the elaborate fresco further and learn more about the fashions and interiors favoured by London’s first wealthy citizens.” – MOLA



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