Archaeologists find Roman villa with ornate indoor plunge pool

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Cultural Heritage have uncovered a Roman villa with an indoor plunge pool during excavations at the port city of Durrës, Albania.

During antiquity, Durrës was founded by Ancient Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra.

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The colony emerged into a major trading centre, which during the Roman period was annexed into the expanding territory of the Roman Republic following the conclusion of the Illyrian Wars.

By the 4th century, the city (named Dyrrachium), emerged as the capital of the Roman province of Epirus nova, covering the region of Ancient Epirus.

Image Credit : IKTK

Archaeologists excavating a former residential part of the ancient city have uncovered a high status Roman villa that dates from between the 1st and 4th century AD.

The villa interior contains an indoor pool, richly decorated with frescoes on the walls and mosaic flooring with tiles and inlays of marble, stone, glass and ceramics. Located adjacent to the pool are shallow square basins lined with waterproof mortar, believed to be the remains of an ancient water feature.

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Within the northern area of the excavation site, archaeologists found a large brick floor from a thermae, a Roman bath, and further traces of walls from the wider complex.

In the western area, the team discovered fragments of relief stucco that was used to decorate the walls and ceilings of the villa. The reliefs depict anthropomorphic and floral motifs, further indicating the wealth of the villa inhabitants.

According to the archaeologists, the villa was destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century, corresponding with ancient sources that describe a powerful earthquake causing buildings to collapse and the city defences to crumble.

Header Image Credit : IKTK

Sources : National Institute of Cultural Heritage

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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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