Artifacts from ancient Roman villa go on display in the UK

July 24th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 24 (ANI): Hundreds of artifacts that were excavated from an ancient Roman villa in the UK around 60 years ago, have gone on display.

Lullingstone Roman villa was a prosperous working farm, occupied for more than 300 years, which went through four stages of development before being abandoned in the early 5th century.

According to a report in The Times, some of the original excavators found the objects during digs at the site, at Eynsford, near Sevenoaks, Kent, from the late 1940s until 1961, which have helped to shed light on how the affluent Romans who occupied the villa lived, worked, worshipped and relaxed.

Highlights include a collection of grave artefacts discovered in a mausoleum containing the bodies of a man and a woman who lived in the 4th century AD and who both died in their mid-twenties.

Objects buried with them include 30 counters, possibly used for a game similar to backgammon, and placed with the bodies for entertainment on the passage to the afterlife.

A sound-and-light show has been installed to illuminate the ruined villa from above.

The lights help to pick out rooms from the bath suite to the triclinium, or dining room, as well as the mosaic floor laid during the 4th century.

The villa is said to be one of the most important and complete examples in Britain and contains some of the best evidence of the transition from pagan beliefs to the adoption of Christianity.

A house church is sited above a cult room still containing a niche with a painted scene of water nymphs for pagan worship, demonstrating that the villas occupants probably came to embrace Christianity while still worshipping other gods. (ANI)

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