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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 22:54 GMT 23:54 UK
Villa mosaic's secrets revealed
Fragments of the Daphne and Apollo mosaic
The site was first excavated as part of the Time Team TV programme
Archaeologists excavating part of a Roman villa in Somerset have unearthed a mosaic of Daphne and Apollo.

The mosaic, which dates back to the 4th Century, is part of the Dinnington Roman Villa site near Ilminster.

It is thought to be the only one of its kind in the country to feature the figures from Greek mythology.

The treasure was uncovered by a team of experts from Somerset County Council and students from Winchester University and Taunton's Richard Huish College.

Dinnington Roman Villa was first discovered when a plough turned up pieces of mosaic tile.

The story of Daphne and Apollo is not depicted on any other known mosaic in the country
Dr David Neil

It was later made the subject of an archaeological dig for the Time Team television show.

Time Team expert Dr David Neil said: "This is one of the highest quality mosaics yet found in Britain. The story of Daphne and Apollo is not depicted on any other known mosaic in the country."

Councillor Justin Robinson said: "The survival of the archaeological remains is particularly good and we need to assess how the site can be protected for future generations."

A number of the finds from this year's dig have been taken away for further study and testing, while others have been covered up to protect them from the elements - the site is not open to the public.

According to Greek myth, the Sun God Apollo was struck by one of Cupid's arrows, causing him to fall in love with Daphne, the daughter of River God Peneus.

Fleeing from Apollo, Daphne prayed to her father for help, and was turned into a laurel tree.

Plough unearths Roman villa
10 May 02 |  England
Workmen unearth Roman patio
07 Nov 01 |  England


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