1,800 yr old Roman villa discovered in Britain as big as an Olympic swimming pool

August 20th, 2008 - 1:43 pm ICT by ANI  

London, August 20 (ANI): A Roman Villa, dating back to 1,800 years, which as big as an Olympic swimming pool, has been discovered in Britain.

According to a report in the Telegraph, shaped like a church, the building was discovered on the Isle of Wight, and has been likened to a medieval hall.

Its remains were discovered at the site of another Roman villa in Brading, and are believed to have been constructed 150 years before the other building.

The later Brading villas remains had disappeared from sight until 1879 when a couple of local men stumbled across them by chance.

The new discoverys ornate decorations are unrivalled in Britain and the building may have belonged to Allectus, who in AD 293 murdered his predecessor Carausius, a Roman army commander who had proclaimed himself Emperor of Britain.

The find is comparable in scale to the Bignor Roman Villa, near Pulborough, and the hall of Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester, both West Sussex.

Its remains, around 3 feet below ground, are so well preserved that the standing structure, masonry and many roof tiles have survived.

According to Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at Oxford University and head of the excavation, Its a very impressive building, absolutely magnificent. It could have been seen for miles around.

The residential part had under-floor heating and walls plastered and painted with mock marble patterns while the communal end would have been used for meetings and legal matters such as boundary disputes and payment of dues.

The Victorians explored this part of the site in the 1880s, although they dismissed the remains as a barn.

A team of 30 archaeologists from America and Europe are now involved in the excavation.

The discovery is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman villas yet discovered in the country. (ANI)

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