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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.