New book tells story of Sparsholt Roman mosaic

New book tells story of Sparsholt Roman mosaic

The mosaic in situ. Photo by Dr Ian Sims

Archaeologists working on the mosaic in 1969

First published in Winchester Romsey Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by

A NEW book recounting the discovery of one of the finest mosaics in Hampshire has been published.

The flooring was found at a Roman villa at West Wood, Sparsholt near Winchester in Victorian times and then excavated between 1965-72 in a dig led by the late David E Johnston.

The Sparsholt villa has been described by Professor Martin Biddle as “one the first villa sites to be extensively excavated in modern times with attention given, as far as was possible, to all its components.

“As such David’s Sparsholt gives us an important glimpse into the rural background og neighbouring Venta Belgarum (Winchester) only six kilometres away."

The mosaic is now one of the most popular displays in the Winchester City Museum.

The final report on the excavations has now been published by the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society.

Written by David E Johnston, and completed after his death by Jonathan Dicks, it covers a small Iron Age settlement, and the multiple-phase multiple-buildings of the villa between its establishment in the mid-second century and eventual abandonment in the first half of the fourth century.

This is supported by specialist reports on building materials, mosaics, pottery, coins, and finds.

It is fully illustrated throughout with photographs, drawings and analytical tables.

The 212-page book is available for £25 plus £4 post and packing (cheques payable to Hampshire Field Club) from: The Publication Sales Officer, Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, c/o 22 Clifton Road, Winchester SO22 5BP.

People who dug at Sparsholt are eligible for a discount, if they contact Dr Ian Sims, saying when they dug; email ian@simsdoc.com or 8 The Wayback, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 2AX, United Kingdom.

The Hampshire Field Club & Archaeological Society (HFC) is the county-wide organisation for research into and the study of Hampshire’s past.

Today it works through its four sections, Archaeology, Historic Buildings, Landscape and Local History. Each section is responsible for setting up visits, lectures and day conferences.

The Hampshire Field Club wishes to acknowledge the financial support of English Heritage, Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council in producing this monograph.

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