Roman Fresco

A fresco almost 2,000 years old discovered on a City building site has shed new light on the lives of the super-rich in Roman London.

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The ornate artwork, measuring about 2.5 metres by 1.5 metres, dates to the 1st century. It was found during an archaeological dig at 21 Lime Street near Leadenhall Market and is likely to have been on the wall of a reception room in the house of a wealthy merchant or official.

It depicts an idyllic scene of deer nibbling fruit-bearing trees on which parakeets perch, and archaeologists believe it was hand-painted by master craftsmen for wealthy clients.

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Ian Betts, building materials specialist for Museum of London Archaeology, spotted the fresco lying face down when he recognised distinctive marks on its back made during its construction.

(R. Dex, London Evening Standard February 2nd 2016)