The mosaic floor at Chedworth Roman Villa
Chedworth Roman Villa has some of the most impressive in-situ Roman mosaics in the country, and gives an insight into the history of Roman Britain. Created from thousands of tiny coloured stones, the intertwined patterns of the mosaic floors are exquisite; they depict a number of figures and stories, and reveal clues about the people who once lived here.
The grand dining room
Depicted in the tiles of the grand dining room (triclinium) are the God of Wine, Bacchus, and his lover, Ariadne, along with fluted bowls with jewelled rims overflowing with acanthus leaves.
This raises many questions about the historic owner of Chedworth Villa. Were they trying to show off their classical education and taste to their guests, and if so, was this intended to impress or intimidate them?
The four seasons
Cupids representing each season are depicted in the four corners of the mosaic floor. Winter holds a leafless branch and a hare, and wears a thick hooded cloak in the local style, called a birrus britannicus. Spring holds a basket and a swallow, while Summer holds a basket and a garland of flowers. Unfortunately Autumn is in a damaged section of the mosaic so we don't know what they are holding.
This mosaic was designed to be viewed by diners as they were eating and drinking at the other end of the room, displaying the owner’s wealth and a focal point for discussion. Only the most wealthy in Roman society could afford mosaics like this.
Changing our understanding of Roman Britain
Most of the mosaics at Chedworth were created in the 4th century and show a range of patterns. Some, like the mosaic in the changing room of the west bath house, have birds and plants as well. It has generally been thought that after the Romans withdrew from Britain in 410AD, craft industries went into decline.
The recently discovered and carbon-dated mosaic at Chedworth has shed new light on this as it dates to the 5th century. Whilst this mosaic doesn't show the high level of skill of other mosaics at Chedworth, it does show that they were still being commissioned by wealthy individuals much later than previously thought. This discovery not only changes our understanding of Chedworth, but also the Romanised way of living in Britain as a whole.
Discover 2,000 years of history at Chedworth Roman Villa. Find out about its construction, heyday and decline, and unearth the stories of a wealthy owner and a Victorian discovery.
Discover the remains of one of the grandest Roman villas in Britain. See the spectacular Roman mosaics, hypocausts and bath houses and find out what treasures have been found here.
Chedworth is famous for its mosaic, but there’s so much more to discover - from bath houses to Roman latrines. Discover more about Chedworth’s heritage finds
Discover the unusual objects that have been unearthed at Chedworth; from a 5th-century mosaic to bone hair pins and pottery.