Image source, Historic England Image caption, The villa is believed to have been occupied by a wealthy individual from the late Roman period
A Roman villa containing a rare mosaic that depicts scenes from Homer's Iliad was found under a farmer's field.
The mosaic, found in Rutland, has been described as the earliest example of i ts kind in the UK.
It was discovered by the landowner's son and was the subject of from an investigation by archaeologists from the University of Leicester.
Historic England has described the mosaic as "one of the most remarkable and significant ... never found in Britain ".
The mosaic and surrounding villa complex has now been protected as a listed monument by the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS ) on the advice of Historic England.
The complex is said to have been occupied by a wealthy individual in the late Roman period.
Image source, Historic England Image caption, Urgent excavation work has been carried out on the site after the discovery of unusual pottery nearby
Jim Irvine, son of landowner Brian Naylor, made the initial discovery after spotting "unusual pottery " during a walk during the 2020 lockdown, andcontacted the Leicestershire County Council archaeological team.
He said: "My family has been cultivating this land for 50 or 60 years.
" During containment last year i noticed some pottery on the ground that was unlike any pottery i 'd seen before.
"We came down here with a spade and dug a shallow trench and I was in exactly the right place. "
Historic England then funded urgent excavation work at the site by the University of Leicester.
Image source, Historic England Image caption, Jim Irvine (left) pictured with his father spotted unusual pottery at the site
The mosaic, which forms the floor of what was supposed to be a dining room or a
Mosaics were regularly used in private and public buildings during the Roman Empire, and often featured famous figures from mythology.
However, the Rutland mosaic is consideredThis is unique in the UK because it features Achilles and his battle with Hector at the end of the Trojan War.
Image source, Anglehistoric land Image caption, The mosaic is considered unique due to the scenes it represents
I Investigations revealed that the large villa is surrounded by barns, circular structures and possibly a bath.
The complex was likely occupied by someone with knowledge of literature classical, between the 3rd and 4th century AD.
Image source, Historic England Image caption, The mosaic formed the floor of a dining room or
John Thomas, deputy director of Leicester University Archaeological Service and Project Manager on the Excavation, said: "This is certainly the most exciting Roman mosaic find in the UK in the last century.
"It gives us new insights into people's attitudes back then, their connection to classical literature, and it also tells us a lot about who commissioned this piece.
"This issomeone with a knowledge of the classics, who had the money to order such a detail, and this is the very first deion of such stories we have ever found in Britain. "
Image sou rce, Historic England Image caption, Discussions are underway on setting up an offsite display
Duncan Wilson, Managing Director from Historic England, added: "To have discovered such a rare mosaic of this size, as well as a surrounding villa, is remarkable.
" Such finds are so important in helping us to reconstruct our common history. By protecting this site, we can continue to learn from it and look forward to what future excavations may tell us about the people who lived there over 1,500 years ago.
The site sits on private land and is not accessible to the public, but discussions are underway with Rutland County Council to set up an off-site display of the villa complex and its finds, addeclared Historic England.
Further excavations are planned on the site in 2022.
The discovery of the Rutland villa will be presented as part of Digging for Britain on Hfrance.fr Two and iPlayer in early 2022.
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