Roman mosaic returns!

Roman mosaic conservation complete

One of the museum’s star attractions is the Roman mosaic floor fragment, which has undergone much-needed conservation, funded by Daventry Town Council, in order to preserve it for future generations.

The mosaic was unearthed during the discovery of the remains of a Roman building on Borough Hill, (at the highest point of the northern end, just west of the Monkey Puzzle tree), in 1823 by archaeologist George Baker.  The site however, was not fully excavated until 1852 by Beriah Botfield and his team who recorded the site.  The building could have been part of a temple or a domestic building or villa. Very little research has been carried out on it and it has neither been securely dated nor has the school of mosaicists been identified (there were several manufacturers of mosaics in Roman Britain).  The whole floor would probably have looked like the illustration below.  Find out more about the history of the mosaic here Roman mosaic floor fragment

During conservation process the mosaic was carefully removed from the frame and surrounding mortar and treated by specialist conservators.  Whilst cleaning the mosaic many ‘tesserae’ (small tiles) were discovered having been obscured by historic conservation efforts, including varnish that had darkened over time.

Documentation of the mosaic fragment on acetate. Note the previously hidden tesserae marked in blue.

The image below shows how the mosaic arrived at the museum on the left and the conserved mosaic on the right.  Now as you can see, the true quality of the mosaic is revealed and we look forward to welcoming visitors back soon to see it in all its glory. 

In the meantime, take a closer look at the mosaic at the beginning of our latest virtual tour exhibition here. 

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