Beneath Roman Feet

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Shell mosaic, Verulamium Museum. Click here to see image of Sir Mortimer Wheeler excavating this mosaic

Wealthy Romans had all mod cons beneath their feet: beautifully decorated floors and underfloor heating.  St Albans in Hertfordshire is lucky enough to have some excellent Roman mosaics left by its former inhabitants, from the time when it was Roman Verulamium.

The award winning Verulamium Museum has several beautiful examples on display – see top and below.

Other Roman ruins in the town include a mosaic and hypocaust, a Roman theatre and a few sections of the old town walls.

The huge mosaic and hypocaust in what is now Verulamium Park were uncovered by Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler in the 1930s.  Click here for an image showing the excavations.

The quality and size (around 220,000 tesserae!) indicate that it belonged to a substantial and wealthy Roman villa. In fact it is believed that this was just one room of a large two storey villa that would have been around 60 m long and contained at least 30 rooms. Both the mosaic floors and central heating system are in remarkably good condition.  It was decided to leave them in situ in the park and a building has been constructed around them to protect them against the elements.

If you have any interest in Roman times this mosaic and the museum just have to be on your to-visit list.  St Albans is just 20 minutes by train from London’s St Pancras Station.

Linked to Monday Escapes
aDSC_0636_ppCopyright Debbie Smyth, 8 August 2015

24 thoughts on “Beneath Roman Feet

  1. Oh my! If I am ever lucky enough to visit London again, I will definitely reserve some time to explore St. Albans. What treasures you discovered!


  2. To think of walking on such beautiful floors! If I wasn’t so lazy I could do my patio in a mosaic.


  3. Oh, goodness – I haven’t been to Verulamium since I was a child….. But in Sicily this year came across an amazing villa, but you couldn’t take photos. I got a couple of surreptitious ones, but shot white balance 😦


    1. That’s a shame. Though you can recover white balance in editing – do you shoot in raw? I was carrying my camera as I went into the museum and they actually told me that I could use it. Oh Sicily. I still want to go there!

      Sent from my iPhone


      Liked by 1 person

    1. I moved to St Albans a year ago and this was my first time in the museum. I was very impressed and will definitely go back.

      On Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 11:35 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:



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