Excavations have uncovered an intricate Roman mosaic floor a few metres underneath a vineyard in northern Italy.
Traces of an ancient Roman villa were first discovered near the town of Negrar di Valpolicella nearly a century ago in 1922. Attempts to uncover the villa continued over the decades, with a new round of excavations beginning in the summer of 2019.
The archaeologists had to put their work on hold temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, only to discover the mosaic underneath a row of vines one week after their excavations resumed in May 2020.
Photos shared by local officials reveal well-preserved mosaic tile with multiple tile colors and complex patterns as well as foundations of the Roman villa. The tile is thought to date to the third century A.D., meaning that it could be approximately 1,800 years old.
Efforts to excavate the rest of the villa will require significant resources, but local authorities are committed to providing everything necessary to finish the job. City officials and the vineyard owners plan to work together to find the best way to make the historical artifact accessible to all.
Featured image from Comune di Negrar di Valpolicella