An elaborate Roman villa has been unearthed by chance after a man decided to do some home renovations.
Rug designer Luke Irwin discovered it while he was carrying out some work on his farmhouse so that his children could play table tennis in an old barn. While laying down an electricity cable, Irwin discovered an untouched mosaic, and excavations revealed an ‘extraordinarily well-preserved’ villa, BBC reports.
The villa was unearthed in Wiltshire during an eight-day dig and is thought to be one of the largest of its kind. Experts from Historic England and Salisbury Museum believe it was built sometime between 175 AD and 220 AD, and say that the find is ‘unparalleled in recent years’.
Finds including hundreds of oysters, which were carried live from the coast in barrels of salt water, suggest that the villa was owned by a wealthy family.
The dig also uncovered ‘extremely high status pottery’, bones of animals, brooches, and coins.
And a stone planter, which had been holding geraniums, was identified by experts as a Roman child’s coffin.
Dr David Roberts, an archaeologist from Historic England, helped work on the excavation, said:
We’ve found a whole range of artefacts demonstrating just how luxurious a life that was led by the elite family that would have lived at the villa.
It’s clearly not your run-of-the-mill domestic settlement.
Dr Roberts added that the site has not been touched since its collapse 1,400 years ago, and because of that, the findings are of extreme importance. He said, “Without question, this is a hugely valuable site in terms of research, with incredible potential. It’s one of the best sites I have ever had the chance to work on.”
Mr Irwin said of finding the villa on his property:
It’s unbelievable. The thought of the footsteps we are following in.
But to find it 20 yards from your own front door…It’s mind blowing.
The Warminster site has now been scheduled to be protected and preserved, but in the meantime, there will be no more research until technology improves and the archaeologists get more funding, Sky News reports.
We can’t wait to find out what they’ll uncover.
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