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Photos: Lost Roman Mosaics of Southern France

Excavation site

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: INRAP)

Archaeologists have undertaken a large-scale excavation in Uzès, a city in southern France. They found mosaic floors dating back to Roman times, when the city was called Ucetia. [Read the full story here]

The dig is taking place ahead of the construction of a school's boarding facility. Before the students can move in, archaeologists need to make sense of this site's ancient (and medieval) inhabitants.

Public art

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: Bertrand Houix, INRAP)

One of the most impressive finds was a mosaic floor, dating back second half of the first century B.C., discovered in the ruins of what's thought to be a Roman public building.

Wavy edges

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: INRAP)

This detail shows a wave-patterned border from the well-preserved mosaic.

Fauna

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: INRAP)

Besides the geometric patterns, this particular design included an animal in each corner. Shown here is the fawn. The other corners feature an eagle, an owl and a duck.

Cleaning the mosaics

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: Frédéric Messager, INRAP)

This view shows the whole room, which had a complex series of mosaics. Two biggest mosaics have geometric motifs that frame central medallions

Aerial view

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: Denis Gliksman, INRAP)

Archaeologists think this building stood until the A.D. 1st century.

Dolphins in the domus

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: Yoann Pascal, INRAP)

The excavators also found a house of a wealthy Roman at the site, from the A.D. 1st century. One room in this building contained a pavement with some geometrically arranged mosaic tiles, and and dolphin motifs.

Central heat

roman mosaics in southern france

(Image credit: Gwénaël Herviaux, INRAP)

The house had something like a central heating system. This so-called hypocaust was uncovered in one corner of the building. This is where the hot air would have circulated under the house.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.