Roman Mosaic Conservation Progress

Roman mosaic floor fragment in situ at the museum prior to conservation work.

Whilst the museum’s doors are closed, our Roman mosaic floor fragment is undergoing some much-needed conservation work.  This fragment was unearthed at Borough Hill and was originally part of a significantly larger tile.  At 1278mm tall, 1175mm wide and weighing half a tonne, it is an impressive fragment nonetheless, and is one of the museum’s star attractions.

The remains of a Roman building was discovered on Borough Hill, Daventry by archaeologist George Baker in 1823 however it was not fully excavated until 1852 by Beriah Botfield and his team who fully recorded the site. Whether it was a Roman villa or temple is still a matter of debate.  If you would like to find out more about the history of the mosaic, please click here Roman mosaic floor fragment

The mosaic had been in storage for some time before being displayed in a suitable location in the museum in July 2019.  The museum’s Voluntary Museum Curator, Rod Viveash, was thrilled to have it back on display, and said, ‘Imagine whose feet had walked on it and what stories it could tell, it is truly a wonderful survivor’.

Now, in order to preserve the mosaic it is being carefully removed from the frame and treated by specialist conservators, who have sent us photographs of the work in progress below.  Once the mosaic has undergone its conservation work, you will be able to see the it back in situ at the museum early in the new year, please do follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with details.

Here you can see the back of the box has been removed and the majority of the old cement and stone backing system removed.

Detail showing some of the residual cement from the 19thcentury backing still in place. This goes right to the rear face of the tesserae, with only a very small amount of Roman mortar still attached to the underside, seen here as the cream-coloured mortar.

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