Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Brading Roman Villa to reopen on selected days beginning Friday, August 7, 2020

The museum on the site of Brading Roman Villa preserves the West Range of the structure, built around 300 CE, which is the last and grandest of three buildings on the site. The foundations of two earlier North and South Ranges are now outlined in chalk outside. The South Range was erected around 100 CE, not long after Claudius' Roman invasion of Britain in 43 CE and was followed by the completion of the grander North Range around 200 CE.

For those living here, this location was a perfect choice. It enabled the  freedom to communicate with and travel to local Island settlements, mainland Britain and cross the Channel to Gaul (France). Fertile arable lands around the Villa complex allowed good crops of grain to be grown. Sheep and cattle could fertilize the land between seasons and springs nearby gave a good water supply. 

By the early fourth century this high status house was completed. As a winged corridor villa, common in southern Britain, it provided separate private living accommodation for the owner and their family together with space for entertaining guests. Like modern homes today the West Range had many changes and adaptions to the living space. This included removing and moving internal walls and adding new mosaics.

The villa was rediscovered in 1879 by Captain John Thorpe and excavated from 1880-1883.  Over 100,000 artifacts were recovered including board games, jewelry, and farming implements.  The villa's mosaics are among the best preserved in Britain and depict mythological subjects including Orpheus, Bacchus, Ceres and other gods and goddesses framed with geometric patterns.

Image: The Orpheus Mosaic at Brading Roman Villa courtesy of their museum.
If you enjoyed this post, never miss out on future posts by following me by email!

No comments: