Actually, construction work in Olney was only about a relatively prosaic project: A new Aldi was to be built in the small English town (Buckinghamshire). But since it was already known that there were archaeologically significant sites from Roman times nearby, experts examined the site first. And indeed, the BBC reports that a Roman villa and a bathhouse were apparently located many centuries earlier at the site where the discounter’s new branch is to be located in the future.

In any case, archaeologists came across a large Roman mosaic that suggests this. Experts at Oxford Archeology raved about the “bright colors and intricate decorative designs” and called the find “archaeological remains of great importance”. The meter-sized mosaic therefore contains white, red and blue tiles.

Experts assume that the bathhouse dates from the 2nd to 4th centuries BC. There is much to suggest that this is an institution of “great importance”. Now the discovered work of art is to be further analyzed and appraised. However, this is only possible to a limited extent, as the mosaic extends further under the road that runs alongside the construction site.

The find came as no surprise: “Due to the location of the site, we expected some remarkable Roman remains, but the discovery of this fantastic mosaic far exceeded those expectations,” said John Boothroyd of Oxford Archaeology. For the time being, the mosaic is to be covered and protected so that construction work on the new Aldi can continue without damaging the archaeological find.

Sources: BBC / Oxford Archeology on Facebook