Roman mosaic wows history fans in Leicester

Mosaic Image copyright University of Leicester
Image caption The elaborate mosaic remains in a very good condition

Archaeologists admit they have been surprised by the interest in a dig that has uncovered a Roman street.

Among the finds from the excavation at the old Stibbe factory site in central Leicester is the largest mosaic uncovered in the area for 150 years.

Items including brooches, pottery and coins have also been unearthed.

An open day held at the beginning of May saw hundreds of people queuing down the street, and the remains have already been seen by some 5,000 people.

Two last open days are being held this weekend before the site closes to the public. The mosaic will then be conserved and probably placed on display.

Hairpins and knives

Gavin Speed of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services said: "We were surprised by the huge numbers of people flocking to see what we've discovered during the initial open weekend, so we extended public tours to the following weekday lunchtimes.

"We've had a tremendous amount of interest."

Image copyright university of leicester

"The excavation has added another piece of the jigsaw into our understanding of Roman Leicester... and the extreme wealth and lifestyle of some of its inhabitants," Mr Speed added.

The mosaic in one reception room is considered "the largest and finest-quality mosaic found in over 150 years in Leicester", he said.

Image copyright AFP

The dig, which began in September, has also unearthed beads, hairpins, gaming pieces and manicure objects, along with a decorated knife handle cast in copper alloy that depicts a scene showing victims being thrown to the lions in an amphitheatre.

The archaeological project was funded by Charles Street Buildings Group, which is involved in a major urban regeneration project in the Great Central Street area.

Image copyright University of Leicester

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