Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Romans at Druce Farm

The Swastika mosaic is an ancient symbol from the Indian sub-continent and the Nazis stole it. As usual the Romans used many other cultural symbols for themselves, tacking other religions onto their own. At Druce Farm villa the symbol was the main decorative element. Mistakes have been found and that makes it even more interesting. One can see the human side to it much more than a perfect example.

Thursday 30th June saw some of us arrive at Druce Farm, east of Dorchester, where Lillian Ladle is working with the East Dorset Antiquarian Society excavating a substantial Romano-British villa complex. It was a  trek to site in the heat but it was worth it. A large section of mosaic has been excavated and although quite plain as mosaics go, it is non-the-less impressive as a design for the room of a wealthy Romano-Britain, as it is quite probable that this was inhabited by a Romanised native of Britain.

Not much in the way of dating evidence has turned up, but some quite nice wall plaster has been found:

We were very impressed by the base of a stone column:

The ditch surrounding the villa is interesting, in that it seems to be a bringing together of Roman and British features:

A possibly unique feature of this villa is its use of slate. This is so unusual that the experts who came to see the site thought that they must be much later. But it seems they were sandwiched between two layers of Roman stone roof tile, so must be contemporary, or the overlying material is residual, i.e. deposited from elsewhere:
Not being an expert on the Roman period I could not say if this is a unique find or not, but if anyone out there can help please let me know.

Well done all the volunteers that have been working here.

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