Roman villa and bathhouse mosaic discovered under Aldi construction site
Archeologists have discovered what they believe to be an ancient Roman villa and bath house under an Aldi construction site.
The team from Oxford Archeology (OA) uncovered the mosaic brickwork in Warrington Road, Buckinghamshire.
The site is close to an existing Roman site in Olney, raising the town’s profile as a mecca for archeology.
Because of the archaeological potential of the area, the developer, Angle Property commissioned OA to dig up the site ahead of construction.
What they found was a beautiful mosaic floor made up of “vibrant colours and intricate decorative patterns” featuring red, white and blue tiles.
It was located in a large room within a partially-excavated high status building, which they believe would previously be known as a domus.
The team also unearthed several stone structures that they think might be cisterns for water collection and a part of a Roman bath house.
The mosaics have been preserved in their discovered location, following consultations with Historic England and Milton Keynes Council.
This means that materials have been placed over the brickwork which will protect it, withstanding construction.
However, the majority of the mosaics are actually believed to be beneath the main A509 road next to the site, which means a full excavation cannot be done.
John Boothroyd, senior project manager at Oxford Archaeology, said: “Due to the site location we anticipated some notable Roman remains, but the discovery of this fantastic mosaic far exceeded those expectations.
“To be able to preserve remains of this quality and importance is a brilliant outcome, and one that could only have been achieved with the support of Angle Property.”
Anthony Williamson, executive director and part owner of Angle Property , said: “The mosaic find is amazing and has taken us all by surprise – this was not expected.
“The roman mosaic adds to our knowledge and understanding of our history and it will be fully recorded and the information published in due course.”