Mosaics and mosaic making information from The joy of shards Mosaics Resource


The Hypocaust mosaic at Verulamium.

Verulamium is close to the modern city of St Albans and although there is little to show for it now, it was a very important town in Roman Britain. Soon after it was founded, the Romans were made to feel very unwelcome by the Iceni tribe led by Boudicca, who destroyed the town in 61 AD. Despite this, the town was occupied for 400 years.

Some fine mosaics have been excavated from the site and most of these are on view in the Verulamium museum, including the well-known horned "sea god" mosaic.

The mosaic floor shown here is from the hypocaust, in a building near the museum. The floor of the room was raised up on brick pillars to allow hot air from a fire to circulate underneath it, a form of central heating.

roman mosaic floor

roman mosaic floor

The designs here are decorative and geometric. In the central part of the floor there are squares containing circular patterns (roundels). It is possible that these were chosen from a pattern book by the owner of the building, and might have been made in a workshop somewhere else. The borders are guilloche, some with two strands, and some with more, as on the left. You might like to try working out how many strands the thicker border has...

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tiling in St Albans Abbey

Roman mosaics in Winchester

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2001-8 All pictures and text are copyright
the joy of shards Mosaics Resource





guilloche strands

There are five strands.

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tiling in St Albans Abbey

Roman mosaics in Winchester

back to list (mosaics in the south of England)

2001-8 All pictures and text are copyright
the joy of shards Mosaics Resource