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The perfectly preserved mosaic floor of an ancient Roman villa was just discovered under a vineyard in Italy

by Lauren Heskin
31st May 2020

In a small town just north of Verona, pristine and colourful mosaic floors of an ancient Roman villa were unearthed last week.

Italy has been ravaged by the coronavirus, there is some heartwarming news as Italians return back to work.

Following a number of digs that began last summer, on May 18 the team from Superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Verona resumed work on the Northern Italian vineyard where they thought there might once have been an ancient Roman villa. By May 22, they had uncovered an incredibly colourfully and richly complex selection of mosaic floors just a few metres below the ground.

Photo: Comune di Negrar di Valpolicella

Located just outside of the hilly town of Negrar di Valpolicella, north of Verona, the mosaic is part of a Roman villa that is believed to date as far back as the 3rd century. Archaeologists had known of the existence of the villa and its incredible mosaic floor, thanks to a 1922 dig of the site.

Photo: Comune di Negrar di Valpolicella

However, the site had been left more or less abandoned since then and precise details were lost as to exactly where the villa was located and how big the site might be. That is until last summer when a series of small, exploratory digs began. The team worked through the site in the hopes of uncovering more information about this lost villa. 

Photo: Comune di Negrar di Valpolicella

Work was paused during the coronavirus until proper social distancing measures could be safely implemented and, at the end of May, trenches were dug along a row of vines and the floors of numerous rooms were unearthed once again.

“After countless decades of failed attempts, part of the flooring and foundations of the Roman Villa located north of the capital, discovered by scholars over a century ago, has been brought to light,” says the town’s Facebook page.

Photo: Comune di Negrar di Valpolicella

The mosaics have since been covered up once again, to protect them until they can decide how to proceed. The plan is to excavate the entirety of the Roman villa and turn it into a museum so the public can visit. However, they are some way off that yet and they will be working with the municipality and the landowner to decide the next steps.

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