Richard III archaeologists strike again with Roman mosaic
A team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester in central England certainly appear to have the golden touch.
Nearly a decade on from uncovering the remains of King Richard III under a car park near Leicester Cathedral, the university's archaeological team have unearthed a Roman mosaic featuring the great Greek hero of Achilles in battle with brave Hector during the Trojan War, this time in a farmer's field about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of London.
The mosaic is the first depiction ever found in the U.K. of events from Homer's classic 'The Iliad.'"
John Thomas, deputy director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services and project manager on the excavations, said the mosaic says a lot about the person who commissioned it in the late Roman period, between the 3rd and 4th century.
"This is someone with a knowledge of the classics, who had the money to commission a piece of such detail, and it's the very first depiction of these stories that we've ever found in Britain," he said. "This is certainly the most exciting Roman mosaic discovery in the U.K. in the last century."
In light of its rarity and importance, Britain's Department of Culture, Media and Sport on Thursday granted the mosaic the country's oldest form of heritage protection. It is now a scheduled monument, which makes it a criminal offense for anyone to go digging around the site or even metal-detecting.
"By protecting this site we are able to continue learning from it, and look forward to what future excavations may teach us about the people who lived there over 1,500 years ago," said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England.
The mosaic in the county of Rutland was found by Jim Irvine, whose father Brian Naylor owns the...