Incredible Roman mosaic found buried near the Shard is largest discovered in 50 years

THE REMAINS of an incredible Roman mosaic, the largest discovered in 50 years, have been unearthed near the Shard.

Archaeologists said that the finds are at a site believed to have been a venue for high-ranking officials to lounge in while being served food and drink.

It is though that the site was a staging post for travellers entering or leaving Roman London.

Antonietta Lerz from theMuseum of London Archaelogy (Mola) said that the mosaic's flowers and geometric patterns were a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime find, reports The Guardian.

Experts believe that the stunning find dates from the late second century to the early third century.

The initial discovery was made about a month ago at a construction site near London Bridge and the iconic Shard.

The eight-metre long mosaic will be lifted later this year for preservation and conservation work with the eventual aim for it to be publicly displayed.

Its main panel displays large, colourful flowers which are circled by ornate twisted bands, set within a red tessellated floor.

The smaller panel is set on white mosaic and features brick red crosses and bands which are surrounded by blue grey geometric shapes.

It is a close parallel to one unearthed in Trier, Germany, which suggests that London artisans travelled abroad.

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David Neal, an expert in Roman mosaic, has attributed the design of the larger panel to a team of mosaicists known as the Acanthus group, who developed a unique style.

Mola experts believe the room housing the mosaic was a triclinium, containing dining couches on which people would recline to eat and drink while admiring the decorative flooring.

The triclinium may have been part of a Roman mansion, effectively offering accommodation, dining and stabling to those travelling to and from Londinium across the river.

Although the footprint of the building is still being uncovered, it appears to have been a large complex around a central courtyard.

The lucky discovery didn't stop there though as another large Roman building was also found at the site.

Lavishly painted walls, mosaic floors, coins and jewellery were found within, prompting Archaeologists to theorise there was a high chance of this being a private residence of a wealthy individual or family.

Other items recovered included a bone hairpin, a decorate bronze brooch and a sewing needle.

Lerz said: "These finds are associated with high-status women who were following the latest fashions and the latest hairstyles.

"The buildings on this site were of very high status. The people living here were living the good life."

"It was the heyday of Roman London," she added.

The site is being redeveloped as The Liberty of Southwark, a complex of offices, homes and shops that is a joint-venture by U+I and Transport for London.

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