I am always captivated by news of archaeological discoveries in modern cities that have descended from Roman towns, forts and metropolises. I’m particularly thrilled by finds in seemingly incongruous locations, those that remind us of how truly sprawlng the Roman Empire once was, like this recent discovery in London.
This week, archaeologists conducting a survey of the ground beneath 21 Lime Street in central London in preparation for the construction of a new office building discovered a remarkably well preserved Roman fresco in what must have been a stunning home built in Roman Londinium’s first decades in the first century CE. The home was subsequently flattened by the Romans who built the largest temple north of the Alps on that same site. This mosaic, discovered twenty feet underground, was preserved when it was deliberately buried under that new structure. The quality of the craftmanship is still evident as is the wealth of the family that commissioned it for their home, as is indicated by the rare pigments that were used in its creation (like the very rare cinnabar used for its red coloring). For more on the discovery see this article in the New Historian.