Archaeologists working to protect the fragile remains of Chedworth Roman Villa will put a series of recent mosaic finds on permanent display as part of a major conservation project at the Romano-British site.
The mosaics, which have been hidden for centuries, will be added to those already on view at the Gloucestershire villa. Over the summer, visitors will be able to meet the team of conservators who are working to prepare them for display.
The display is part of a £3 million scheme which will see new environmentally controlled conservation shelters replace old Victorian sheds. Walkways are being installed above the mosaics, allowing visitors to look down on them more easily. New interactive displays will also explore life in Roman Britain.
The project is set to go ahead thanks to a £700,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
"Our archaeologists have known these mosaics existed on site since they were first seen during the Victorian excavations but later re-buried," said Pippa Wise, Chedworth Programme Officer.
"It was agreed they would be better protected if excavated again and put on display in a proper environmentally controlled building which will protect them from frost and other damage."
Unveiled at a special community day today (July 27 2010), local schools and community groups were invited to the villa to celebrate. Highlights of the day included mosaic workshops and a competition for the best dressed Roman. There was also a procession to the Nymphaeum, the spring which still supplies water to the villa.
A souvenir Chedworth coin has been minted, which visitors can use to make their own offering by throwing coins into the spring. The money will help the staff and volunteers at Chedworth raise the final £500,000 needed by 2011 to complete the project and build a new Education Centre.
For more information about the developments at Chedworth Roman Villa, follow the on-line blogs and project progress at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth.