A Roman mosaic unique in Britain depicting one of the most famous battles of the Trojan War has been uncovered in a farmer’s field.
he artwork was discovered during excavations of an elaborate villa complex made up of a host of structures and other buildings, dating to the third or fourth century AD, Historic England said.
Such is its rarity and importance, the site has been protected as a scheduled monument by the British Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The mosaic depicts a scene from Homer’s The Iliad, about the epic fight between Achilles and the Trojan hero, Hector.
It is one of only a handful of such mosaics in Europe and was part of the floor of a large entertaining or dining area within the villa.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief executive, described the find as “remarkable”.
The site, in Rutland, was discovered during last year’s lockdown by Jim Irvine, whose father, Brian Naylor, owns the land.
Mr Irvine then notified the authorities, leading to an excavation by University of Leicester archaeological services.
He described how what started as “a ramble through the fields with the family” led to the “incredible discovery”.
Archaeologists later found remains of the mosaic, measuring 11 metres by almost seven metres.
It is unique in the UK in featuring two heroes of antiquity, Achilles and Hector, and their battle that ultimately ended in Hector’s death.