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Author Topic: Lullingstone Roman Villa  (Read 19943 times)

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Offline Lyn L

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Re: Lullingstone Roman Villa
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 14:33:47 »
Sorry to confuse, I asked when the excavation was but forgot to click on 'post' then saw your follow on , and I haven't even started on the grapes yet  :)
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Offline kyn

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Re: Lullingstone Roman Villa
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 14:09:58 »
I am confused, what do you mean Lyn L?  :)

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Lullingstone Roman Villa
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 14:03:46 »
Just seen your follow on post  :) so now I know . Thanks again
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Offline kyn

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Re: Lullingstone Roman Villa
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 14:02:33 »
15th July, 1949

Roman Mosaic in Kent

Lullingstone Park Excavations

The site of a Roman villa detected in the eighteenth century on the northern boundary of Lullingstone Park, near Farmingham in Kent, has been rediscovered recently and is now being excavated by Lieutenant-Colonel C. W. Meates and others with spectacular results.

The remains include a large mosaic pavement which covers the floor of an apsidal double room and consists of two figured panels with borders of geometrical and other patterns.  One of the panels represents Bellerophron mounted on the winged horse Pegasus and spearing the Chimera, with representations of the four seasons in the corners of the design.  The other panel shows Europa carried off across the sea by Jupiter disguised as a bull, and is noteworthy for a Latin couplet which has survived almost intact above the scene.  With slight restorations, the verses read as follows:-

INVIDA SI TA[URI] VIDISSET IUNO NATATUS
IUSTIUS AEOLIAS ISSET AD USQUE DOMOS

The merit of these verses is questionable but their meaning is clear.  They may be translated:  “If jealous Juno had seen the swimming of the bull she might more justly have gone to the halls of Aeolus.”

Romano-British Culture

The reference is to the first book of Aeneid, where the hostile Juno appeals to Aeolus, god of the winds, to raise a storm in order to overwhelm Aeneas on his voyage to Italy, with the implication that she might, with greater provocation, have made a similar appeal had she seen her wayward consort eloping to Crete with the fair Europa on his back.

The technical crudeness of the mosaic matches the homely Latinity of the verses and suggests that their date is unlikely to be much earlier than 300 A.D.  Inscribed pavements are far from common in Britain, and the discovery is of additional interest for the light which it throws upon the culture of a Roman-British country gentleman in the pleasant Darenth valley under the later Empire.  The work of excavation is proceeding with the help of volunteers, and, if funds are forthcoming, it is hoped to roof the mosaic and preserve it for public inspection.

Offline kyn

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Re: Lullingstone Roman Villa
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 13:01:37 »
The excavation...

Offline kyn

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Lullingstone Roman Villa
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 20:24:11 »
The earliest house on this site was believed to have been built in around 100; evidence shows it to have been in a typical villa style with a block of rooms and a wing at each end of the building.  For the following 300 years the villa was adapted and enlarged.



The first section of building you see when you enter shows one of the additions to the original building, this section was added in about 275 and is believed to show the underfloor heating beneath the rooms, the hot air from the furnace would have been moved under the rooms via ventilation which encouraged the air circulation.  These areas may have been the spaces for a furnace, three heated rooms and a room thought to have been used at a later date as a kitchen.





The next room you come to is named the Deep Room, this room is a lot deeper than the others in the villa and is believed to be part of the original villa.  This room most likely started life as a cellar, with steps leading from the outside directly in and a separate staircase on the inside giving access from above.  In the floor of this room is a well, this has provided one of a few clues as to later use of this room.  Due to paintings of Water Nymphs and other paintings and the well it is believed that this room may have been used as a cult room, possibly even as a secret room used to celebrate paganism whilst the room above was used to celebrate Christianity.  It may have been at this time the exterior stairs into the Deep Room were blocked up giving the only access from within the building.  Within the Deep Room two marble busts were found, one thought to represent Pertinax, a governor of Britain, as were some pots and other items that may have been used as part of a pagan ritual.





Above the Deep Room was a room now called the House-Church.  This room was decorated with paintings on plaster that represent the Christian religion, thousands of fragments of these paintings were found in the room beneath, some charred from the fire believed to have destroyed the villa.  Once reconstructed the painting shows six figures with their hands raised in the manner of Christian prayer during the Roman period.  There were further paintings similar on other walls of the room.  It also appears that an ante-room was in use, similar to a narthex, for people who were not yet been formally admitted to the church.  This room was decorated with more Christian themed paintings.  This room is believed to be the earliest evidence of Christianity in Britain, and the paintings almost unparalleled.





The next section you come to is where the main entrance to the villa was situated.  This faced the river and would have been a verandah.  After this area is the south wing, nothing was uncovered here to suggest the use of the room. 





The next section contains the baths, these were constructed in around 150, there is evidence of an earlier structure here also.  The bath suite was used as a sort of health spa/fitness area.  After undressing in the changing room you would move to the cold room (frigidarium), you then go to the warm room (tepidarium) and then to the hot room (caldarium), each time moving closer to the furnace.  Above the furnace was a water tank that fed directly into the hot plunge bath.  During each room your pores would open and before entering the hot plunge room a metal scraper would be used on your skin.  After the hot plunge bath you would go into the cold plunge bath to close your ores.  A steam room was also in use here, evidence of this is a room with wall flues to heat the room. It is thought these rooms would be rarely used as the only way to get water was via a nearby well, this would have been very time consuming.  It is thought that at a later date a aqueduct as built to bring in large amounts of water directly.



Well








Of course the most impressive part of this well preserved villa is the mosaic floor tiles in the dining room and audience chamber.  These rooms would be where guests were entertained and this would be where you could show of your wealth by installing magnificent mosaic pictures.  The square room here may have been the original dining room, or may have served as both dining room and audience chamber where the owner would meet tenants and conduct business.  The mosaics were designed to face the apse, where guess would be seated on curved couches looking over the mosaics. The square mosaic shows Bellerophon, Prince of Corinth, on the winged horse Pegasus, killing the Chimera, a fire-breathing she-monster.  This picture could also have been chosen to disguise a Christian message.



The second mosaic, in the apse, shows the mythical story of the Rape of Europa, who was abducted by Jupiter disguised as a bull.  One of the accompanying cupids try to intervene by pulling the tail of the bull.  A Latin couplet above the image reads:

INVIDA SI TA[URI] VIDISSET IUNO NATATUS
IUSTIUS AEOLIAS ISSET AD USQUE DOMOS

Which translates to “If jealous Juno (Jupiter’s wife) had seen the swimming of the bull she would with greater justice have gone to the halls of Aeolus.”  This alludes to an episode in the first book of Virgil’s Aeneid, in which Jupiter’s wife, Juno, demands that Aeolus, the god of the winds, drowns Aeneas and his fleet at sea; but here it is transferred ironically to Jupitor’s abduction of the princess Europa.







 

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