Chedworth Roman mosaics to go on display

Chris Cleere and a mosaic Chris Cleere has been working on the mosaics at Chedworth

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One of the longest in-situ roman mosaics in Britain is to go on display for the first time in 150 years at Chedworth Roman Villa, Gloucestershire.

Archaeologists uncovered the mosaic and others as part of a £3m redevelopment.

They said they had known for many years there were more than those already on display inside two Victorian-built timber sheds.

The mosaics will go on show inside a new conservation shelter at the site, which is owned by the National Trust.

National Trust archaeologist Martin Papworth said the mosaics had been seen and noted during Victorian excavations.

"Only two areas were put on display under the old shelters," he said.

"However, when we did some work to check on their condition we were concerned that frost and weather were affecting them and it was agreed they could be better protected by building a new environmentally controlled shelter over that whole section of the villa and excavating them for display."

'Long-term conservation'

The mosaics include one of the longest in-situ corridor mosaics in the country, which is 35m (115ft) long.

It will go on display under a special walkway allowing visitors to walk just above the Roman floor.

One remaining section of the corridor mosaic will be excavated next summer.

Conservator Chris Cleere said: "The mosaics were wet when they were excavated and now they are safe inside the new building we will let them dry out and see what happens.

"Then we can assess what type of work we need to do over next summer for the long term conservation.

"In the short term we will clean the mosaics, stabilise them and prepare them for display to the first visitors."

The new conservation shelter, a redeveloped visitor facility and a new education centre will be officially opened on 4 March.

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