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Archaeologists unearth Roman mosaic in Olney

A team of archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology have uncovered a Roman mosaic in the market town of Olney, located in Buckinghamshire, England.

The excavations were in preparation for the construction of an Aldi supermarket, where the researchers found the remains of a Roman villa complex and bath house. The large mosaic is partially preserved and has intricate decorative patterns made from pieces of red, white and blue tesserae.

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Oxford Archaeology were commissioned for the study by the developers, Angle Property, due to the close proximity of a Romano-British settlement on the northern outskirts of the town.

John Boothroyd, senior project manager at Oxford Archaeology told the BBC: “Due to the site location we anticipated some notable Roman remains, but the discovery of this fantastic mosaic far exceeded those expectations.”

Image Credit : Oxford Archaeology

Aerial photographs of the known nearby settlement indicate linear features, with a dense scatter of building debris and ceramics found on the surface, suggesting that the settlement dates from around the 2nd to 4th century AD.

Although a number of Roman artefacts have been discovered within the boundary of present-day Olney, the evidence suggests that the area of the town centre wasn’t occupied until the Anglo-Saxon or early medieval period.

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Excavations of the villa has shown that much of the complex extends under an adjacent modern road that the team are unable to fully investigate. The mosaic is currently being recorded and preserved in situ by reburying the remains to protect it from the planned construction works.

Header Image Credit : Oxford Archaeology

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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