Roman fresco discovered and restored

A team of Museum of London Archaeology researchers discovered an ornate fresco at a site by Lime Street. The find was made six metres below street level and is dated to 1st cent. AD. It is one of the earliest surviving frescoes from Roman Britain. It once adorned the residence of a wealthy Roman citizen.

The reconstructed fresco (by MOLA)
The reconstructed fresco (by MOLA)

In AD 100, construction of the 2nd Forum Basilica, the main civic centre for the city and the largest Roman building ever built north of the Alps, began. In advance of construction of the Forum the area was flattened. The painted wall was deliberately toppled and the Forum immediately built over it, incredibly preserving the fresco for nearly 2000 years.

The pieces of the fresco (by MOLA)
The pieces of the fresco (by MOLA)

The fresco was discovered face down and identified from the distinctive markings of the keyed daub onto which the plaster was attached. The fragile remains, surviving to a width of nearly 2.5 metres and a height of over 1.5 metres, were carefully removed in 16 sections. The central section depicts deer nibbling trees, alongside birds, fruit and a vine woven around a candelabrum. Red panels, bordered with cream lines, surround the main decorative scheme.

The site where the fresco has been discovered (by MOLA)
The site where the fresco has been discovered (by MOLA)

(after Museum of London Archaeology)

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