Archaeologists found a rare, fragile painting from the Roman Era decorated with birds and deer featured on it. The mural – discovered 20 feet (six metres) bellow the streets of London – was likely used as a decorative piece on the wall of a rich family’s home.
When they found the painting, archaeologists at the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) were looking for Roman artefacts at 21 Lime Street, which is situated near Leadenhall Market in central London.
Not a lot of ancient murals survive over time, because they are far more fragile than metal or stone artefacts. According to archaeologists at the Museum of London Archaeology, very few complete murals from the Roman Era have been found throughout London. However, fragments of Roman paintings have been discovered before, they noted.
The newly unearthed fresco (painting that is done on a wall and painted onto plaster that is fresh) that goes back to the time of Roman Britain, is probably the oldest of its kind to survive over such a long period, according to experts.
The painted plaster was still encased in dirt when archaeologists lifted it in sixteen sections at the construction site on Lime Street. After further ‘microexcavation’ conducted in a lab, the archaeologists saw that one of the sixteen sections survived almost intact. It had black, green and red vertical panels at the centre and on the sides. A set of blue-green birds, as well as a deer, were also featured on the mural. That piece of the fresco was about five feet (1.5 m) high and eight feet (2.5 m) across.
Liz Goodman, an archaeological conservator for the Museum of London Archaeology, said that the conservation project was very challenging, but at the same time extremely rewarding. To uncover the 2000-year-old decorative plaster, she and her colleagues had to work against the clock, Goodman added.
To better understand what life was like in the Roman period for individuals who lived in that section of the city, the archaeologists will keep analysing the painting, along with other archaeological records from the same site. According to them, the newfound mural probably decorated the wall of a reception room of a private home.
Image Source: i. live science