Elaborate mosaics found in ancient Roman house

Excavations at Auch in Gers, France, unearthed a 5th-century Roman house containing luxurious floor mosaics.

Archaeological work by the mosaic (by INRAP)

The excavations are close to the centre of the ancient Roman city of Augusta Auscorum. At the spot archaeologists unearthed an aristocratic house with private baths. The initial discovery of the structure was made when the landowner decided to build foundations for a new house, and uncovered ruins of Roman building just 50 centimetres below the surface. Following the discovery archaeologists of the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (INRAP) unearthed the structure and the mosaics present within.

Floral patterns on the mosaic (by INRAP)

According to the researchers, the Roman building dates to between 1st-5th century AD and was rebuilt several times on the course of centuries. The mosaic made out of multicoloured tesserae pieced together in numerous geometric and floral motifs, such as leaves of ivy, laurel, and acanthus, waves of water, oval patters, tridents, octagons with five-leafed flowers, squares separated by three-strand braids. The quality of the mosaic testifies about the wealth of the house’s inhabitants.

Wave pattern of the mosaic (by INRAP)

At the edge of the excavation, other mosaics appear from an earlier stage of the house. And, at another even deeper level is a third mosaic embellished with four black tesserae forming a cross. A coin of the Roman Emperor Constantine I (272-337) was found within the house providing a date of the final period of the structures occupation. Archaeologists also unearthed remains of  two underfloor heating systems.

Details of the mosaic (by INRAP)

(after Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives & The Connexion)

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