Rare Roman mosaic depicting The Iliad found in British farm field

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Nov. 25 (UPI) — A rare Roman mosaic depicting Homer’s The Iliad has been discovered in a British farm field, marking one of the most remarkable finds of its kind, researchers announced Thursday.

The mosaic found beneath a farmer’s field in Rutland is only one of a handful from across Europe, according to the University of Leicester archeologists who unearthed the find.

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On Thursday, Historic England recommended the site be temporarily protected by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.

Jim Irvine, son of landowner Brian Naylor, discovered the site during the lockdown. He used satellite imagery to spot a “clear crop mark.” Since then, it’s been investigated by the university along with Historic England and Rutland county council.

The villa complex consists of a host of other structures and buildings likely to have been owned by a wealthy person between the third and fourth centuries.

The mosaic itself measures 36 feet by 23 feet on the floor of what’s thought to be a dining or entertaining area. Mosaics like that were used in private and public buildings across the Roman empire. The pictures often depict history and mythology.

Human remains were also found in the discovered villa.

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“A ramble through the fields with the family turned into an incredible discovery,” Irvine told The Guardian. “Finding some unusual pottery among the wheat piqued my interest and prompted some further investigative work.”