The villa mosaic project is gathering pace! We are coming to the end of week 5 and just now finishing off the swastika meander… and it’s looking fantastic.
For those interested in statistics, we have now completed 2 square metres of mosaic. There are just over 10 square metres of the central panel (the geometric design) in the original. The room is around 25 square metres but the outer edges – the largest area of the floor – is not patterned and uses much larger tesserae than the central design (5cm square as against our 1cm square detail tesserae). Based on those figures it suggests a completion time of around 6 months. However, our laying rate has increased significantly. We are up to around 1/8th square meter per person, per day – we think more than double where we started. So, it remains to be seen whether we can maintain that rate as we move on to the more complicated guilloche pattern – seen in the picture above.
The guilloche design, which looks like twisted and interlocking ropes, is a very common motif across the Roman world. If you compare different mosaics you notice that there are slight variations in execution. Interestingly, the fragment of the Chilgrove mosaic on display in the Novium museum in Chichester looks very like our Winchester design, which lends support to the theory that mosaicists worked across regional bases – they had a ‘home base’ (perhaps a workshop) and travelled to commissions within their area.
Here are Juliet, Louisa and Jamie finishing off the swastika