Archaeologists discover a lavish marble floor from ancient Rome in southern France




March 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image © Bertrand Houix, Inrap. All images courtesy of Inrap, shared with permission

Developers of a residential home in Nîmes, France had to stop construction last month when archaeologists discovered an opulent tiled floor that once covered a Roman villa or domu. The checkered design dates from 1-2 BC. Chr. And consists of marble from several empirical provinces, which is inlaid in the foundation opus sectile that was prevalent in antiquity. The multicolored pattern, which extends over several feet, is believed to occupy a former reception area.

During their excavation, archaeologists also discovered plasterboard that had broken into the immaculately preserved tiles with classic frescoes on red and black panels. Lines scratch the back of the decorative pieces, which would have helped them stick to the earthen walls. Other findings suggest that this domu, along with another nearby, was particularly lavish, boasting a private bathroom, a concrete floor speckled with decorative gems, and a large central fountain made of white Carrara marble. One room even had scraps of Hypocaust warming, an innovative system that sent hot air under the floor to warm the house. (over The history blog)

Image © Charlotte Gleize, Inrap

Ornamental plasterboards cover the tiled floor. Image © Pascal Druelle, Inrap

Image © Pascal Druelle, Inrap

Two rooms of the Domu with the heating system on the left. Image © Charlotte Gleize, Inrap

Marble gemstones decorate the concrete floor. Image © Bertrand Houix, Inrap


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