The recent discovery of another well-preserved Roman mosaic shows the strength of tile! In a case of mosaic art Lost and Found, archaeologists recently uncovered a still-vivid stretch of flooring. Located at the site of an ancient villa, the mosaic designs date back to around 250-400 AD.
The owners of the large estate are not known today. It’s believed that the original villa and grounds could have measured up to 1,000 square meters. Judging from the quality of the mosaic tile art, it’s believed that Roman inhabitants were rather wealthy.
Verona’s ancient inhabitants, commented archaeologist Federica Rinaldi, “had unique tastes in flooring,” and “few villas have been found with such well-preserved and well-executed examples.”
Expedition leader Gianni de Zuccato believes that the owner had possibly been a local official or an associate of the Imperial entourage.
The Case of the Lost Villa
The site has been hidden since 1922, which makes the recent discovery more momentous. When this photo was taken, a team had begun excavation, uncovering painted walls, vibrant mosaic art floors, and evidence of other buildings. The presence of the mosaic tile and artifacts had first been noted in 1887, when portions of the flooring were sold to the city of Verona by the landowner. It began as a well-documented project, which is why we have these pictures.
In the following years, however, funding for additional excavation fell through, and the area was buried again. In a thriving agricultural area, the land was valuable for farming. Even now, it’s the home of a flourishing vineyard.
Still, the story of the wondrous mosaic villa remained in local lore. With a location near the important Roman outpost of Verona, it was not uncommon to find important artifacts in the area. As a matter of fact, Verona was so packed with temples, monuments, and other impressive indicators of Roman might, it was known as “Little Rome.”
Working with the clues from previous digs, the Italian state team was eager to find the exact location. With no exact coordinates recorded, they tried ground radar and test excavations, and eventually hit pay dirt, so to speak, in the middle of the vineyard.
The team is working in trenches to avoid disturbing the cash crop of the current owners.
A Time Machine in a Vineyard
Head archaeologist de Zuccato says seeing the ancient marble mosaic art was like “like entering a time machine”. “It was an amazing feeling, I confess I could not remain cool”, he admitted.
Mosaic Tile – The Most Durable Art Form?
Is it unusual to find such pristine examples of mosaic art in excavations? Although the Verona find is heralded as one of the biggest events of the year for archaeology, mosaic art is quite durable. The first examples of mosaic art actually are from Mesopotamia and date to the 3rd millennium BC.
We enjoy tracking down fine examples of ancient mosaic design here in our blog. You might have seen our previous posts about the mosaic tiles of Gazientep, Turkey, Lod in Israel, and more. There are wonderful examples of mosaic wall art and decor that retain their vibrant colors for centuries – much to our delight.
Verona – A Mosaic-Filled History
You see the way mosaic arts last forever right in the town of Verona. The site of this amazing find is well-known for its tile arts, and worth a visit just for this reason. The Santa Maria Antica church is an interesting example of the use of mosaic tile arts over centuries. It retains a small amount of the original black and white floor from the 7th century, as well as newer art from the more recent restorations from the 1100s and beyond.
Visiting the city’s museum will allow visitors to see extraordinary examples of ancient Roman mosaics.
Here the wall and floor mosaics on display show an amphora, rosacea, and daily life scenes from the past with gladiators.
Other pieces from the town that still boasts a standing Roman Colosseum are of gladiators.
Steal this look!
If all these lovely representations of Roman mosaic have inspired you, check out our catalog, where you will see examples of floor designs, such as this marble mosaic art.
You can even add a Colosseum to your own home, with one of our popular mosaic wall art pieces.
You never know where we’ll find our next bit of mosaic art inspiration! Please check out our website for even more home and garden decor ideas.