The newly conserved Downton Roman Mosaic
Tristan Cork, writing for the Western Daily Press, reports on 13 April that the Downton Roman Mosaic, buried for 1,700 years under Wiltshire soil, will at last go on show at the Wessex Gallery of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum, Wiltshire, England –
A Roman mosaic that laid unknown in a field in a Wiltshire village for almost 1,700 years before its discovery stunned locals 60 years ago, is finally being displayed. The Downton Mosaic was uncovered by surprised builders when new houses were built in the village near Salisbury in the early 1950s. The spot where it was found is believed to be part of a fourth century Roman villa.
The Downton Roman Mosaic when first discovered sixty years ago
Now the mosaic is being installed as the first exhibit in the new world-class Wessex Gallery of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum, as part of the major upgrade of museums both there and at Devizes that went with the £27million new Stonehenge visitor centre project.
“We believe this section of the mosaic came from the central room of the villa which may have been the dining room,” said museum director Adrian Green. “The date of the objects found at the villa suggest it was built in the late third to early fourth century AD and remained in use for about 50 years.”
The new archaeology gallery, which opens later this summer, will house one of England’s most extensive collections of Stonehenge and prehistoric artefacts including the recently discovered Amesbury Archer, dubbed the “King of Stonehenge”.